What Is The Final Agreement Between Shylock And Antonio

In Shakespeare`s play The Merchant of Venice, Shylock and Antonio enter into a contract in which Antonio loses a pound of his flesh if he does not repay the money borrowed for Bassanio. The two men verbally strengthen the bond and Shylock carries the contract to the notary. In Shakespeare`s time, economic contracts were social promises rather than written laws, although they were always made formally and deliberately to seal an agreement. The contract between Shylock and Antonio becomes problematic at the end of the play, as Shylock, Portia and the Duke interpret the contract in different ways. Contract law as a whole lacked coherence, and religion was a strong argument when defended in court. The problem here is that if citizens suffer from laws that are easily misunderstood and constantly evolving, the enforcement of contracts is even more destructive with Shylock`s rigor and vindictive motives. One may also wonder, what is the relationship between Antonio and Shylock? The relationship between Antonio and Shylock is controversial; Antonio is heroic, but Shylock is bad. True, they are rivals in their allocation of money: Antonio is kind and generous, while Shylock is selfish in all aspects of his life. In the courtroom scene, Shylock stubbornly defends Antonio`s sentence because the debts were not repaid on time. Shylock asserts: „I defend the judgment“ (4.1.103) and „I defend the law here“ (4.1.142) and demonstrates a ruthless interpretation of contract law. For Shylock, the original agreement between two men is still under the law, regardless of the brutal effects of the contract. He uses a kind of justice found in the Book of Exodus, where an „eye for an eye“ defines politics. Shylock is eager for revenge, but Portia asks for mercy and understands the contract in a different way.

When her calls to the New Testament influenced everyone except Shylock and the Duke, Portia reversed the diction of the treaty to overwhelm Shylock. Portia null and void Shylock`s contract on a formal formulation in which Shylock can only take „one pound of meat“ (4.1.324), no blood. The trial scene shows how a contract between two men can be both a legal agreement, a social promise, a weapon and a method of mercy. The multiple uses and meanings extracted from the contract seem to be aimed at establishing coherent laws within a society. The law aims to define rules and norms for a population so that relations between citizens are peaceful. However, due to Shylock`s failure in court and his permanent demise, it can be concluded that Shakespeare did not support the strict application of contract law. .

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