The main narrative of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice deals with a dispute over the matter of bond in regard to moneylending, and its consequences upon the eventual default. Only the clever interference of a lawyer or judge brings the crisis to an end. In solving his dispute over the bond between Antonio, the merchant of Venice, and Shylock, the money lender and a Jew, Shakespeare offers one of the most famous trial scenes in literature. This trial scene presents the art of arbitration by Portia who was disguised as a Doctor of Law and sheds light on the nature of law, justice, equity, and divine law. What one cannot overlook in this trial scene is the importance of reading ability. After all, interpretation is the next stage of reading. Drawing just verdicts and wise arbitration while at the same time deconstructing the implicit violence and incongruity in law is based on ceaseless effort of analytic and creative act of reading.
Ⅱ. Context of The Merchant of Venice
Ⅲ. The Trial in the Venetian Courtroom：Portia’s Arbitration as a Doctor of Laws