Sunday, June 24, 2012

Why Portia?

Magpie Tales

Mag # 123


Why Portia? Of all the characters in Shakespeare's cast of thousands, why pick her? What about the guy who took the pound of flesh - didn't he say anything worth remembering?  Was there a resident evil in the English literature teachers of yesteryear who forced memorization down our throats and to what end? And if so, why repeat this "speech" over and over in your brain for weeks at a time just so you could recite it in front of 20 other kids who also didn't give a rip about Portia either?

But though I can't tell you much of Portia's role in the Merchant of Venice, I remember her speech and with a little peeking, I can recite portions of it to this day.  As I read it this morning, I see that Portia (or Shakespeare's pen?) was brilliant...or at the very least, a Believer.

The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven,
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blessed.
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
It is mightiest in the mightiest,
It becomes the throned monarch better than his crown.
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
An attribute to awe and majesty.
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself.
And earthly power dost the become likest God's,
Where mercy seasons justice.
Therefore Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice we all must see salvation,
We all do pray for mercy
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy.
I have spoke thus much to mitigate the justice of thy plea,
Which if thou dost follow,
This strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence gainst the merchant there.

See other writing contributions inspired by Orson's evil on Magpie Tales.

Laurel. Tis noble to show mercy.

14 comments:

  1. Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
    That in the course of justice we all must see salvation,
    We all do pray for mercy
    And that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy....i just love that portion...and its amazing sometimes the things that stick with us...and often how they relate to life around us...

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  2. Gotta go where your mind takes you...good trip!

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  3. I hate it when things are forced down to be memorize ~

    Thanks for sharing those lovely lines ~

    Happy Sunday ~

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  4. Amazing connection to Merchant of Venice...that pound of flesh...

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  5. Ah Portia, the perfect heroine. I still know the speech 40 plus years later!

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  6. The creative mind does travel to interesting destinations to make uniquely memorable connections. Brilliant thinking here, Laurel. I enjoyed this journey. Thanks. =D

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  7. yes, the rules of gangsters do not allow for mercy, that's for sure!!

    done for

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  8. I was just talking Shakespeare the other day!

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  9. I've always loved that passage from Shakespeare. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  10. Portia oh Portia where art thou....very lovely....and quite an adventure as well!

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  11. I'm all for kids memorizing lines from great literature and drama - they're a pleasure when you can recite them 50 years later.

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  12. Hey Laurel that was amazing how you uncovered the relationship between the image and Shakespeare, cool.

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Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate all those who share and leave their comments very much. Laurel

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