Merchant of Venice Themes - Prayer
There's a common phrase "Be careful what you wish for". It might equally be said "Be careful what you pray for". We could pray the Our Father daily , saying "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" which, if we are not forgiving people ourselves, would mean that we are effectively praying to God each day not to forgive us! Shakespeare teases out the issue in this extract: we need mercy to be saved, so we pray for mercy, but that should inspire us to be merciful ourselves - "we do pray for mercy/And that dame prayer doth teach us all to render/The deeds of mercy".

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