In William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, how does Shylock react during the trial scene?

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kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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During the crucial trial in Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice, the character of Shylock reacts with indignation regarding the proceedings, which are clearly stacked against him, as suggested in the Duke's reference to the Jewish moneylender as "an inhuman wretch uncapable of pity" before the proceedings even begin. In Act III, Scene I, Shylock is quick to address the prejudicial notions prevalent among this society, delivering the oft-cited, passionate speech regarding the nature of humanity:

"I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands . . . If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? . . . And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?"

Shylock's reaction to the events of the trial -- a judicial proceeding in which the character of Portia disguises herself as a member of the court to further influence the outcome -- is anger followed, ultimately, by resignation. He knows that he, a Jew, cannot possibly prevail in such a one-sided affair, and that the insults and indignities that have been directed against him for years continue to weigh heavily against him. Indeed, even his own daughter, his own "flesh and blood," has rejected him, running off with Lorenzo. He argues in defense of his position regarding the arrangement with Antonio, but he recognizes the futility of the proceedings before him.

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