ICSE - X - English
Discuss the dramatic significance of the trial
scene of the play "The Merchant of Venice" with respect to the following headings :
* The Importance of The Trial Scene.
* Symbolic Significance.
* Trial Scene a High Tension in Public Spectacle.
* Trial Scene an Exposure of Shylock's Savagery.
* Portia's Pleading for Mercy and Shifting Her Attention to The Legal Aspect of The Bond.
Please answer this in 300 -400 words.
We recommend you to elaborate upon the points given below.
* The Importance of The Trial Scene: In this scene, Antonio is brought before the Duke and the other important people in Venice to stand trial for failing to pay off his debt to Shylock. The Duke cannot find any legal fault in Shylock’s bond, and is hence, upset about the penalty imposed on Antonio. Although Shylock is offered six thousand ducats as a repayment of the loan, he refuses to forego his pound of flesh.
* Symbolic Significance: The trail scene is symbolic of the divide between justice and evil. It shows how greedy and thoughtless Shylock has become and how no amount of reason is able to sooth his thirst for a fellow human's blood.
* Trial Scene a High Tension in Public Spectacle: The trial scene takes place before the Duke and the noblemen of Venice. Therefore, it displays a high tension in public spectacle. This is very typical of Shakespeare’s plays, where the climax takes place in front of several people (Julius Caesar, funeral scene)
* Trial Scene an Exposure of Shylock's Savagery: The trial scene exposes Shylock’s motive of revenge. Although Portia delivers a speech on mercy and requests the Jew to be merciful, Shylock rejects her pleas and refuses the compensation offered by Bassanio. He is adamant on cutting off his pound of flesh from Antonio’s body. Shylock’s crude ways expose his savage behaviour and shifts our sympathies towards Antonio at once.
* Portia's Pleading for Mercy and Shifting Her Attention to The Legal Aspect of The Bond: Portia pleads to Shylock for mercy in a long and an impressive speech. However, Shylock thinks that he is not wrong in demanding his pound of flesh as per the bond. Portia realises that there is nothing wrong with the bond and agrees that Shylock should have his pound of flesh. However, she warns that nothing more than a pound must be cut and that no drop of Christian blood must be spilled. Portia claims that if anything happens otherwise, Shylock will be an offender of the state of Venice and his property will be confiscated.
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