Thinking about justice and “the quality of mercy” on Law Day 2012

On May 1, 2012, May Day to some or to others Law Day or Loyalty Day, my thoughts turn toward God and the concept of justice. I recently published an Examiner.com article commemorating Law Day, and I included a quote from Carol Seubert Marx, president of the Ohio State Bar Association as well as video clip from  Ohio State Supreme Court Chief Justice, Maureen O’Connor.  In additional I included commentary on the Spiritual Connection with the God of Justice and made reference to the famous Shakespearean  monologue which begins with “The quality of mercy” in the memorable trial scene in The Merchant of Venice where Portia in the guise of a young male lawyer, enters the court in response to the demand for justice by Shylock, the Jew,  who is really seeking revenge. The article brought to mind the influence of women in the legal system in Ohio which is reflective of the nation as a whole.

http://www.examiner.com/article/law-day-may-1

Listen to the “The Quality of Mercy” speech as performed by Lenora Crichlow, who plays Portia, from The Merchant of Venice, and argues the case for mercy in light of justice.

When I was working on my Ph.D. in English at Indiana University in Bloomington, I enrolled in a course on Shakespeare taught by the late Professor Roy Battenhouse, recognized scholar and author of Shakespeare and the Christian Tradition. The course was especially memorable in that the half dozen or so students met at Professor Battenhouse’s home which was in walking distance from the campus, and his wife served us tea and other homemade delicacies. I was first exposed to The Merchant of Venice during that class, and I completed a paper discussing Shylock’s demand for justice and the resultant resolution of the bond. The paper was later published as an article in The College Language Association Journal XXXV No. 3. March 1992: 353-66, which is now reprinted as a pdf, appropriate reading material on Law Day 2012.

Shylock’s Daniel

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