In the courtroom scene, Shylock stubbornly defends Antonio`s sentence because the debt was not repaid in time. Shylock states: “I represent judgment” (4.1.103) and “I represent the law here” (4.1.142) and shows a ruthless interpretation of contract law. For Shylock, the initial agreement between two men is still in accordance with the law, regardless of the brutal consequences of the contract. He uses a kind of justice found in the book of Exodus, where an “eye for an eye” defines politics. Shylock wants revenge, but Portia asks for clemency and understands the treaty in a different way. When his calls to the New Testament put everything but Shylock and the Duke, Portia returns the dictation of the contract to overwhelm Shylock. Portia cancels Shylock`s contract on a technical formulation in which Shylock can only take “only one pound of meat” (4.1.324), not blood. The scene of the trial shows how a contract between two men can be a legal agreement, a social promise, a weapon and a method of mercy at the same time. The multiple uses and meanings extracted from the treaty seem to run counter to the objective of standardized legislation in a society. The law seeks to establish rules and standards for a population so that relations between citizens are peaceful. However, because of Shylock`s failure in court and the final end, it can be concluded that Shakespeare did not support the rigid application of contract law.
In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare acknowledges the arbitrariness and harmfulness of inconsistent contract law, particularly because of its social and religious character. Debt and borrowing contracts are raised through civil law because they are formed in a common law tradition and are respected under the moral obligations under canon law. At the beginning of the 17th century, English law depended more on singing agreements and social norms than on written statutes and the judgments of authorities. If Antonio breaks his contract with Shylock, his reputation and business will be compromised without the interference of civil law. But when Shylock includes the Duke and the English codes of law, he rejects his revenge and Antonio is the winner. Shakespeare understands that the standard procedure benefits a large population, but in this play he also advises reforesting a vengeful and inflexible interpretation of contract law. If a highly interpretive agreement is dealt with, it is better to act honestly and fairly without neglecting human compassion and compassion. 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 evil. Certainly they are rivals in their money loan: Antonio is friendly and generous, while Shylock is selfish in every aspect of his life. In Shakespeare`s play The Merchant of Venice, Shylock and Antonio enter into a contract in which Antonio will lose a pound of his flesh if he does not pay money for Bassanio.