the merchant of venice act v n.
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The Merchant of Venice, Act V. Sadaf faramarzi. Logocentrism.

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Logocentrism is the belief that there is an absolute and unquestionable center of truth serving as the root and the driving force in man’s consciousness. Bressler holds that, “Derrida readily admits that we can never totally free our selves from our logocentric habit of thinking and our inherited concept of the universe”. In Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, the Logocentric notions in Portia and Nerrissa’s symbolic attachment to the existence of the lost ring, refers to Gratiano and Bassanio’s loyalty. In other words, the losing of the ring shows the unfaithfulness of Gratiano and Bassanio and the presence of it presents their loyalty. In act V, there are several lines which show the Logocentric idea of loyalty and the men’s betrayal toward their wives.


Portia: I gave my love a ring and made him swear

Never to part with it; and here he stands;

I dare be sworn for him he would not leave it

Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth

That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,

You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief:

An ‘twere to me, I should be mad at it.


PORTIA: Even so void is your false heart of truth.

By heaven, I will ne’er come in your bed

Until I see the ring.


PORTIA: Let not that doctor e’er come near my house:

Since he hath got the jewel that I loved,

And that which you did swear to keep for me,

I will become as liberal as you;

I’ll not deny him any thing I have,

No, not my body nor my husband’s bed:

Know him I shall, I am well sure of it:

Lie not a night from home; watch me like Argus:

If you do not, if I be left alone,

Now, by mine honor, which is yet mine own,

I’ll have that doctor for my bedfellow.


The term “binary opposition” denotes a pair of rigidly opposing pairs, such as man/animal, truth/deception. According to Derrida, the Western metaphysics has introduced these dual terms in order to privilege one over the other; one acting as the superior, the other as the inferior. The terms given below are used in a hierarchy which makes one superior and the other inferior but they are not opposing but actually supplementing each other (See king and governor). In the given hierarchy, we see that it is supplemntarity that operates.


PORTIA: That light we see is burning in my hall.

How far that little candle throws his beams!

So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

NERISSA: When the moon shone, we did not see the


PORTIA: So doth the greater glory dim the less:

A substitute shines brightly as a king

Unto the king be by, and then his state

Empties itself, as doth an inland brook

Into the main of waters.


The messianic refers to a situation that involves waiting even in activity and an endless perspective toward future that can never be limited by some predictions that we make in order to frame our possible future. According to Derrida, it means that it is not the future that will become present but the boundless expectation towards an unknown future.

In the example below we observe that Portia predicts an unlimited expectation toward her future by referring to God, in other words, Portia has an openness toward her unknown future.

PORTIA: Let me give light, but let me not be light;

For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,

And never be Bassanio so for me:

But God sort all!