Merchant of Venice Themes - Justice
In recent years, after all sorts of famines and atrocities, followers of God and their Churches have become more committed to justice - many schols, parishes and dioceses have Justice and Peace groups for example. So while we mustn't ever fall short of justice, we are called to go beyond it into mercy and generosity. As Portia points out in the extract, by strict justice none of sinners would be entitled to heaven ("in the course of justice none of us/Should see salvation") so we pray for God to be merciful with us. In the context of the play strict justice seems to allow Shylock the moneylender to take his pound of flesh. Because this would be damaging and probably fatal to Antonio Portia tries to persuade Shylock to be merciful - ""I have spoke thus much/To mitigate the justice of thy plea". He turns down several chances to be merciful and ends up getting more justice than he bargained for - deprived of his property.

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