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2013 | 56/111 z. 1 | 99-120

Article title

„But none can drive him from the envious plea / Of forfeiture, of justice and his bond”: Shylock’s Bond, Playing Hardball, and the Law of Remedies in The Merchant of Venice


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This paper submits that in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, „this merry bond” (1.3.169) becomes the central artery through which the fates of two friends, Antonio and Bassanio, become intertwined, and Shylock’stragically falls, thereby illustrating how this written evidence functions to disassemble contractual relationships, rather than serve as a prohibition against the commercial corruption, as provided in the Fraudulent Conveyance Act (1571). The essay explores the nature of settlement negotiations and the disparate conditions of bargaining powers by the parties — those which represent the state’s interests and those which represent individual interests. Here, this analysis focuses on the attempts in the play to devalue the trustworthiness of written evidence, particularly contracts, presented at a time where the early modern courts emphasizes the reliability of such evidence, and demonstrates how interpersonal communications intervene as vital legal vehicles within this society.


evidence   bonds   genre   law   courts  





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  • Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824 USA


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