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Merchant of Venice

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Essay Response #2

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice: The Nature of Contracts in the Play.

In Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice there are two major contract's made, a contract is any promise or set of promises made by one party to another for the breach of which the law provides a remedy. The promise or promises may be express (either written or oral) or may be implied from circumstances. The first contract in the play that I discovered is one between Portia and her father. Nerissa telling Portia :

"Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men at their death have good inspirations: therefore the lottery,

that he hath devised in these three chests of gold,

silver and lead, whereof who chooses his meaning

chooses you, will, no doubt, never be chosen by any

rightly but one who shall rightly love. But what

warmth is there in your affection towards any of

these princely suitors that are already come?" (Act i. scene i. 121-768)

The nature of the contract between Portia and her father is as follows, Portia's father state's that all suitors must first select on of three caskets in order to marry her. The caskets are made of gold, silver, and base lead, all containing different messages. Only one of the three caskets contains a picture of Portia. The suitor who picks that casket will

be granted to marry her. As a part of losing

the suit, the suitors are further

sworn to never purpose marriage to any other woman, and must return to Morocco immediately.

The next contract I discovered is between Shylock and Bassanio. Shylock is speaking to Antonio:

"O father Abram, what these Christians are,

Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect



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