Dispute Resolution in The Merchant of Venice

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Shakespearean literature has been long commended by scholars for its incorporation of legal discourse into its plot structures that further paves way for interdisciplinary study of law. Practically all of Shakespearean texts are known to have tangential relation and relevance to legal practice but plays like “Merchant of Venice” have scenes that do not only depict a courtroom trial but also shed light on some key aspects and methods of dispute resolution that are arbitration, conciliation, negotiations and mediation.

The merchant of Venice” is not only appreciated by literary enthusiasts but it has also generated great interest in Lawyers more than any other Shakespearean text, sparking profound commentary on the legal facets that are assessed academically. Before delving deep in to the legal themes entailed in the play, the substance of the prose will examine the definition of the term “Alternative Dispute Resolution” or ADR. Alternative Dispute Resolution refers to a repertoire of mechanism that can substitute court trials and largely entail discussions between the disputant parties.

These methods are also referred to as “out of court settlements”, whereby the parties involved in the dispute are encouraged to negotiate and find a solution to resolve their dispute. The ADR system is subdivided into the following categories that are negotiation, mediation and arbitration. The process of negotiation consists of dialogues between the disputant parties whereas, “arbitration” and “mediation” require the involvement of a third party to act as a mediator or conciliator in order to find a solution and make unbiased judgment in the matter. It is important to understand that the decisions in a dispute are non-binding if they are made t...

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... it is discussed earlier, the prior relationships of the disputant parties is both economic and social, which were intensified due to the bond between the two parties. Despite the legal nature of their case, mediation could have provided a valid resolution to the dispute as this process of dispute resolution assesses the situation beyond the officially authorized frame of justice, which in many ways fell short of providing a verdict that as fitting for the involved parties. It was also pointed by Prof. Carrie Menkel Meadow in her article titled “women as lawyers” used Portia as an epitome to demonstrate the fact that her participation in the trial was similar to that of an “advocate” than a “mediator”.

From an advocate’s perspective, Portia’s arguments were strong and she did a commendable job in not only saving Antonio’s life but also brought ruin to Shylock.

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