The trial is perhaps the most crucial scene in the play. In Act IV, Scene I, Shylock demands the right to cut a pound of flesh from Antonio’s body. The court’s decision determines Antonio’s fate. The duke appeals to Shylock’s sense of compassion, to no avail. Shylock says he will stick to his promise: “And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn / To have the due and forfeit of my bond.” Antonio has willingly signed an agreement to allow Shylock a pound of his flesh if he did not repay Shylock on time.
The duke believes there is nothing to be done. Bassanio attempts to offer money, which Shylock refuses. Antonio’s friends hurl insults at Shylock and cry for their friend, but Shylock does not yield. Portia, disguised as a lawyer, arrives and describes to Shylock the wonders of mercy: “it is twice blest; / It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.” She declines to simply pardon Antonio because that will set a flawed precedent.
Portia eventually manages to find a loophole in Shylock’s argument. The bond does not make allowance for any blood to be spilled: “Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more / But just a pound of flesh.” He has insisted on his bond and therefore cannot legally back down. On top of that, there is a law “against an alien” seeking “the life of any citizen,” on pain of death and confiscation of his money. The duke forgives Shylock of his life, and Antonio allows for Shylock to keep one half of his goods. The condition is that his money goes to Shylock’s daughter and her Christian husband after his death and that Shylock convert to Christianity.
The scene concludes with the disguised Portia insisting that Bassanio give her a ring as payment. This is the ring she gave Bassanio as his wife and insisted he never remove. He eventually does so, which leads to more teasing in the play’s conclusion. As you can see, the trial scene affects everyone. Portia displays her intelligence and saves her husband’s friend, Bassanio’s mind is set at ease (though his marriage might be at risk), Antonio’s life is saved, and Shylock is threatened and humiliated.
The trial scene or the judgment scene is the longest scene in the drama The Merchant of Venice which was written by William Shakespeare. This is the most important scene in this drama and it is one of the most interesting and attractive scene of any drama written by William Shakespeare. It is the climax of The Merchant of Venice where good prevails and bad evil get punished. Although the trial scene was mainly about the punishment and saving of Antonio but in the trial scene it was a fight between Portia and Shylock.
It was the condition of Antonio that everyone was concerned in the trial scene. Bassanio was prepared to a many times more of the original loan. Even the duke was sympathetic to Antonio and wish that Shylock forgets him from taking the flesh of Antonio. However, Shylock was not interested at this and he wanted to only take flesh from Antonio’s body. He was not interested to listening anything about mercy and all he wanted was revenge of all the insults he had suffered from Antonio and every other Christian in Venice. The first part of the trial scene was dominated by Shylock and everyone including the readers, viewers and audience think that there is no way to stop Shylock.
The arrival of Portia brings some hope to everyone but Portia in disguise of a lawyer supported Shylock’s claim that Shylock had all the rights to take pound of flesh from Antonio’s body. Hearing this Shylock got very happy and excited and praised the judge. However, when Portia said that Shylock has to take a pound a flesh without dropping any blood from Antonio’s body then everyone understood that Portia’s judgment was saving Antonio. In the end, Shylock lost the trial and judgment went against him. He suffered a lot and it was stated by the court that Shylock would lose all his property and he will have to convert as a Christian.
In the trial scene, we can see the conflict of idea of judgment of two religions. According to Judaism (Jews religion), justice means punishing the bad people. So, Shylock feels that he has suffered and he must get an eye for an eye. Eye for an eye or pit for a pit is the main idea of justice according to Jews religion. So, Shylock wanted this kind of justice and he wanted the flesh from the body of Antonio because he felt that it is the exact justice for him after suffering a lot of insults from all the Christians including Antonio.
On the other hand, Christianity has a softer approach to a justice and revenge. One famous idea of Jesus Christ is that if someone then put your right chick in front of that person. Christianity gives a lot of important in forgiving and mercy. Shakespeare has tried to show that the idea of justice of Christianity is better than the idea of justice of Judaism. So, Shakespeare has shown that Shylock became a Christian and this way Shylock got saved.
That trial seen is the fight between Portia and Shylock. All other characters watched the fighting between them. Shylock thought that he had won the trial and no one could have stopped him from taking revenge against Antonio. He was so sure that she started to celebrate very early and others could understand that he was a very bad person who did not care for humanity. On the other hand, Portia was a very smart person and she was determined to save Antonio.
The trial scene is a memorable one because of the strong dialogues from Shylock and from Portia. Some of the dialogues has become very popular and are seen common among the English people.