As in many of Shakespeare's plays, The Merchant of Venice is constructed around opposite value systems or worldviews. One pole of this scale is captured in one of the most famous of the Bard's verse speeches as it is recited, fittingly enough by the epitome of Christian generosity, Portia, during the climactic trial of Act IV, scene i. In borrowed lawyer robes, Portia proclaims:
The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that...
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