The Merchant of Venice and the ancient grudge

The Merchant of Venice and the ancient grudge

The Merchant of Venice and the ancient grudge

The Comical History of the Merchant of Venice is generally felt to be a troubling play, and has even been described as ‘the most scandalously problematic of Shakespeare’s plays’.[1]

What is so problematic and troubling about this play for a contemporary audience?

We are an audience for whom the massacre of the Jews in the Holocaust lies not so far in the distant past, an audience whose hearts – political correctness aside – know the crime of such prejudice. And so what is generally perceived as Shakespeare’s anti-Semitic portrayal of Shylock the Jew can be confrontational. It is true that the undiluted anti-Semitic stance taken by the Christian characters in the play cannot be easily ignored and frequently leaves audiences disturbed and uncomfortable... yet we probably know Shakespeare well enough by now to know that it is not Shakespeare who is anti-Semitic, but the behaviour he is exposing through the Christian characters in the play that is. We know that nothing and no one escapes Shakespeare’s scrutiny and the spectacle he throws open before us on his stage is one that startlingly reflects back to us the less-than-loving way we have all been living our lives. If we feel uncomfortable then there is something there to be acknowledged, owned, and pondered on.

The action in The Merchant of Venice moves between the commercial metropolis of Venice and idyllic Belmont, the grand seat of the heiress Portia – both exotic settings for an Elizabethan audience. Venice was historically famous as a multi-cultural republic, a great maritime power, and a centre of European commerce and trade. This bustling and vigorous city was fuelled by the business of overseas trade, and the practice of usury, which facilitated the flow of capital, saw the Jewish community as central to its economic life. In such a context the citizens of this play do not hold back on living the high life, splashing their wealth around and partaking in extravagant entertainments, masques and revelling. Money is a conspicuous presence on stage, both as a subject of conversation and in the flirtatious wordplay and banter of the lovers’ wooing.

Money is constantly talked about – it is desired, it is lost, it is squandered, and... it is borrowed and lent.

At Belmont we are introduced into a world apparently more ‘refined’; a realm of inherited, not commercial, wealth. The ‘glistering’ gold of Venice is not so obvious in the seeming ‘loveliness’ here. Belmont is an archetypal Shakespearean world of comedy, with its playful, teasing lovers, its fairytale quest involving the riddling choice between three caskets for the hand of the beautiful heiress Portia – as well as a place of poetic rhapsody where the immortal harmony of the heavens is celebrated by the lovers as they sit on the riverbank gazing up into the night sky: “There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st / But in his motion like an angel sings /Still choiring to the young-eyed cherubim’s” [5.1.60-2]. This is a milieu in which Lorenzo (a Christian gentleman) can converse to his Jewish fiancée Jessica (Shylock’s daughter) about the sweet harmony that is ‘in immortal Souls’ [5.1.63]. Such a conversation between Christian and Jew on ‘Such a Night’ in Belmont is vastly removed from the flavour of conversation that takes place in the marketplace of Venice.

Portia’s seat in Belmont is an almost perfect locus amoenus of the Golden Age[2], and is lent mythical proportions in Bassanio’s description of it to his friend Antonio as ‘Colchis’ strand’ [1.1.170-2] – the home of the golden fleece so eagerly sought by Jason and the Argonauts. Portia’s sunny locks “hang on her temples like a golden fleece... And many Jasons come in quest of her”. The audience also hears that the “Hyrcanian deserts and the vastly wilds/ Of wide Arabia” have become mere “thoroughfares now /For princes to come view fair Portia” [2.7.41-3]. These exotic ‘trade routes’ travelled by would-be lovers to Belmont are of another dimension altogether than those trade routes leading to Venice.

Rotten at the Core

Belmont, with its music, poetry, hilarity, lavish hospitality and lovers, seems idyllic, yet at the core of Venice’s world of commercial enterprise, which is ultimately funded by the wealth upon which Belmont flourishes, there lodges an ugly and festering wound of racial and religious prejudice whose hatred infects the very foundation of society and all its transactions. This wound Shylock refers to as ‘the ancient grudge’, a phrase that inevitably recalls the ‘ancient grudge’ between the Capulets and Montagues resulting in the death of the young lovers in an earlier play, Romeo and Juliet [Prologue].

The particular ‘ancient grudge’ in The Merchant of Venice which pollutes the circulation of Venice’s waterways, arterial systems, and societal interactions, is that of the centuries-old feud of rancour and hatred between Christianity and Judaism – religious factions who had been embroiled in endless fanatical and revengeful campaigns, one against the other. The Judaic/Christian feud was founded upon an ingrained, ill-consciousness that has divided, and continues to divide, a hurt humanity through its insistence upon trading with ‘right and wrong’, ‘good’ and ‘bad’. This Shakespeare unapologetically exposes to the light of day, displaying how such a feud does not stay contained within the sphere of its creator (religious dogma) but permeates all our dealings and days, including our financial transactions. During the course of the play, the tyranny of this ugly growth is torn up by the roots and shown in all its rawness and rot.

The play opens on an interesting note with Antonio, a Christian and merchant of Venice, musing upon an inexplicable sadness that has overtaken him:

“In sooth I know not why I am so sad./ It wearies me; you say it wearies you; /But how I caught it, found it or came by it/ What stuff ‘tis made of, whereof it is born /I am to learn; and such a want-wit sadness makes of me, /That I have much ado to know myself” [1.1.1-5] – an observation confirmed by his friend Gratiano; “You look not well Signior Antonio” [1.1.77].

It is clear, Antonio is not feeling himself. Their companion Salarino ventures to suggest that maybe his mind is tossing around on the ocean with his ‘argosies’ (large merchant ships) full of rich spices and silks, worrying about their safe return... or perhaps he is even in love? No, Antonio responds, neither of the above – he is just not himself.

Now add to the ‘ancient grudge’ a touch of finance

Enter Lord Bassanio, “a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier”[1.2.108], who answers Antonio’s question about how things are going in his own personal ‘argosy’ and quest for the rich heiress Portia with the news that he is broke, too broke to be able to pay Antonio back the debt he already owes him, and too broke to contend for Portia’s hand in marriage, which will secure his economic future. Bassanio’s profligate taste for high living has landed him in dire financial straits: “Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,/ How much I have disabled mine estate... I owe you much, and like a wilful youth/ That which I owe is lost”. But, he continues, if you lend me some more money, I should be able to get my act together and turn my finances around.

Antonio adores his friend Bassanio, and further, is not at this moment feeling himself, so it is hardly surprising that both of these factors influence his decision to pour yet more funds into Bassanio’s empty coffers. He declares in the name of ‘love’, “My purse, my person, my extremist means/ Lie all unlocked to your occasions”. [1.1.139] But... and a big ‘but’ here, the whole of Antonio’s fortune is at sea and he is banking on the return of his fleet from the corners of the earth – from the Rialto, from Tripoli, the Indies, Mexico, and England – to restore his wealth. In order to fund Bassanio’s desire to win Portia and her wealth he must borrow money: “Thou knowst that all my fortunes are at sea;/ Neither have I money, nor commodity/ To raise a present sum; therefore go forth:/ Try what my credit can in Venice do” [1.1.177-80]. There is now a gap for the wraith ‘disaster’ to slide in, all resulting from Antonio not ‘feeling himself’, having lost his connection to the genuine and wise man that he innately is.

A dicey triangle of fiscal relationship is born – a relationship between men whose foundation is based on ‘need’ and yet is strangely called ‘love’ by Antonio: we have Bassanio, the profligate bankrupt aristocrat living beyond his means, borrowing from Antonio, the rich merchant whose money is all ‘at sea’ and who is offering to give away to Bassanio what he does not actually have in his hands, now breaking his rule that he will never borrow money by approaching the powerful Jewish usurer Shylock to stand surety for the loan for Bassanio.

Can it be called a ‘loving’ act on the part of Antonio to go into debt for Bassanio; go against his policy of abhorring usury, and offer a pound of his own flesh to Shylock as surety?

At this key point in the play where the three men enter into this dodgy financial contract, the age-old rancour in the relationship between Christian and Jew, with its ‘you are bad and I am good’ and ‘you are wrong and I am right’ is added to the mix, further muddying the already somewhat malodorous waters of Venice.

There is a history of deep hatred existing between merchant and usurer. Antonio says that the reason for the enmity between them is because he has on many occasions delivered those who have been in debt to Shylock from his clutches – “Therefore he hates me” [3.3.24]. This is certainly true, but the Jewish Shylock lists many other reasons why he hates Antonio. Firstly he openly states that, “I hate him for he is a Christian” and because “He hates our sacred nation” [1.3. 3-44]. Further, the Christian Antonio has laughed at Shylock’s losses, thwarted his business, repeatedly insulted him and called him a ‘misbeliever’, a ‘cur’ and ’cut-throat dog’ as well as spitting on his ‘Jewish gaberdine’. Further, Antonio responds that even when Shylock consents to lend him the money he will still spit on ‘the Jew’ and spurn him!

The currency being bartered between the two is not so much money as the energy of mutual hatred, and all in the name of religion. Together they ‘bank’ derision and degradation. Together they circulate this demeaning currency. What kind of a society can be based on such exchange and consider it acceptable, ‘normal’ and ‘legal’? Can we imagine that this could possibly be a true model for a genuine, workable society?

The deal is finally sealed with Antonio agreeing that if his ships fail to return with their merchandise intact, he will give Shylock a pound of his own ‘fair flesh, to be cut off, taken’ from whatever part of Antonio’s body it pleases Shylock to do so. It is clear that for Antonio to have agreed to such a bond, consenting to gamble with his precious body and his very life, that he has not only lost his connection to his innate truth, but has entered into dealing in the same currency as Shylock. Antonio has claimed this deal as a ‘loving gesture’ towards Bassanio, but such folly, which ends in a court-case, can certainly never be called love.

Antonio is borrowing from a system and a man he abhors not realising that, in this act, he is part of the dynamic of usury, and is creating the demand for it. In this he is conveniently ignorant of the law of supply and demand and the part he plays – if there is no demand the product has no one to supply to, and it will consequently be pointless to produce it. There can be no usury if no one wants to borrow. This simple fact exposes Antonio’s ‘finger of blame’ at Shylock and usury for the lie that it is.

Who is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’? In truth, nobody, so why insist upon it?

Shylock is an interesting character. He is not at all the crude caricature of the Jewish villain current on the English stage in Shakespeare’s time. The play makes it impossible to entirely demonise Shylock and some productions of the play have even foolishly gone so far as to convert Shylock into a tragic hero. However Shakespeare’s purpose in not caricaturing Shylock is not to create sympathy for him, but to lift the whole discourse on anti-Semitism and the ancient grudge to a higher, more expanded viewpoint. Which he does.

News has arrived that Antonio has lost his argosy and Shylock proceeds to sue for his pound of flesh. Yet intriguingly Shylock is here given a key speech in the play about the truth of the equality of all men and women, that we are all one and the same underneath our skin, underneath the outer guises of race, religion, ethnicity – Christian and Jew alike. In answer to Salarino’s words that Shylock will surely never exact the pound of flesh from Antonio, Shylock answers with the list of the tortures that Antonio has already subjected him to and then says:

“I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, sense, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die?”...

But... and here comes the fall, the moment of perverting and skewing the truth in order to sanction revenge:

“And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge! If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why revenge!” [3.1.53-64]

We find ourselves, almost before we know it, now neck-deep in revenge.

In the opening of the speech Shylock has shown that he does know the truth of our brotherhood but has allowed, what he calls so accurately in the court case, “a lodged hate and certain loathing” [4.1.59] to over-ride what he innately knows – that all men are brothers, and that the current model of society, in which it is acceptable and lawful to react and conduct our lives with revenge, does not work. There are two possible positions that he could align to – the false or the true:

It’s okay for me to nurse my hurts, act upon a momentum of revenge, demanding the right by law to abuse Antonio and claim the pound of flesh from his body…


What I have experienced in abuse already is so wrong that I will never ever repeat it or perpetrate it on anyone else.

Shylock, as we know, aligns to the first option. Yet do the Christians act very differently? What do the Christians, who are so full of civility and virtuousness that they can never be ‘wrong’, do? Do they proceed to base this law case on the law of love that the Christ through Jeshua delivered to us all? No: they call themselves Christian but proceed to show themselves to be mercenary, racist, judgmental and almost equally revengeful, and so also align to the lie. Christian and Jew are in bed together, sleeping with the enemy of their own resistance to the universal law of love.

Shakespeare’s play demonstrates that our legal systems are patently reflections of the nature of our relationships. What is truly of value – nominated by the Duke as a certain “humane gentleness and love” [4.1.24] – has been denied in both camps, Christian and Jew, and as a result both financial and judicial dealings are inevitably corrupted.

The old saying ‘Money is the root of all evil’, which is passed down as a ‘truth’ from generation to generation, is clearly a lie. Our counterfeit creation away from our loving relationship is in fact the root of all evil, not money. It is the quality of relationship between us that, if not fired by true love, is the evil that we let through us which in turn taints our law and our medium of exchange. Borrowing, profiting, speculating, debt, usury – none of these things occur in isolation from the quality of our relationship with ourselves and each other.

The Quality of Mercy or Blind Justice?

The Courtroom scene comprises an intriguing assortment of positions: there is Shylock’s stubborn demand for his pound of flesh from Antonio, and Bassanio’s offer of paying off the debt with the promise of Portia’s money; and there is the famed ‘mercy’ speech delivered by Portia (disguised as a doctor of law, ‘Balthazar’), with its bid to temper the domination of the cold letter of temporal law:

“The quality of mercy is not strained:/ It droppeth as the gentle rain from Heaven/ Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:/ It blesseth him that gives and him that takes./ ’Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes/ The throned monarch better than his crown... But mercy is above this sceptred sway; /It is enthroned in the heart of kings, It is an attribute of God himself”. [4.1.180-91]

An eloquent speech that acknowledges the loving authority of the heart and of God. To reimprint the ‘bond of flesh’ dilemma with such quality of mercy would have been a powerful step in healing the ‘ancient grudge’ that lay between the adversaries, but mercy is something Shylock rejects outright, as he has fatally foundered upon the rocks of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ which is at the basis of temporal justice. So when the Duke asks him “How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?”, he answers, “What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?” Can he really believe this? He continues, You yourself, Duke, own human slaves “which like your asses, and your dogs and mules,/ You use in abject and in slavish parts, Because you bought them”, and on that point you are no different from me and my ‘ownership’ of Antonio’s flesh.

Yes, the hypocrisy of the Duke and his class in owning slaves and condoning the fact of the considerable slave population of Venice, is clear and well-exposed – but where is the movement towards understanding and coming together in any of this? All Shylock is saying is, it’s okay for me to own a human being because you are doing it too! The enmity remains resolutely lodged in place.

If Portia cannot save Antonio through appealing to the mercy of the heart, she must turn to the letter of the law – a technicality – to stop Shylock in his tracks. She warns him that “Thou shalt have justice more than thou desir’st”.

“Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh,/ Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less or more/ But just a pound of flesh. If thou tak’st more/ Or less than just a pound... nay, if the scale do turn/ But in the estimation of a hair,/ Thou diest, and all thy goods confiscate” [4.1.320-28].

Shylock is of course very quick to withdraw his suit for Antonio’s flesh and say that he will now accept the offered money (supplied by Portia via Bassanio), which he has earlier refused... but it is too late.

It is worthwhile noting that when Shylock is defeated by ‘Balthazar’ (Portia in disguise), she, despite the eloquent speech that has fallen from her lips, droppeth little mercy upon him. She confiscates half Shylock’s goods and money to Antonio, and the other half to the privy coffers of the state. So Shylock is left with no viable means of support to live. And while Antonio is somewhat merciful in allowing Shylock to have half his money back, his act of forcibly making him convert to Christianity is not only disrespectful and controlling, but also jaw-droppingly abusive. Certainly it is not the way of true living to convert another, let alone force a conversion on them. And yet this compulsory conversion ‘sentence’ upon Shylock was deemed legal. The law only objects when the violation has escalated to the point of cutting out a pound of flesh – yet every abuse that has led up to this and that occurs after it is socially and legally considered not harming. Sadly, 400 years later the model our society is run upon has not evolved from this.

The ‘rights and wrongs’ championed by the ideal of justice are clearly not the answer to dissolving the ancient grudge, which stubbornly and senselessly remains.

In fact the judgment justifies the perpetuation of the grudge. And it has been this ill state of affairs in our relationship with each other that has generated the necessity for the establishment of forms of legislating justice in the first place. We have a grudge and conflict that can never be won, just delay our coming back to the love that we innately are.

Belmont: Nothing is Quite what it Seems

Meanwhile back at Belmont, it is revealed that this privileged ‘seat’ is neither quite the paradise nor the utopia that we may have imagined. Portia languishes in a world-weariness and frets over a scheme that has been devised by her late father to ensure that no gold-digger will capture her hand in marriage. This scheme is a lottery for suitors consisting of three locked caskets – gold, silver, and lead – the gold holding within it a skull, ‘a carrion Death’s’, the silver holding ‘the portrait of a blinking idiot’, and the lead holding Portia’s portrait. He who understands the riddle of the caskets and chooses wisely will win her hand.

The whole process is tortuous for Portia as she faces the train of ridiculous suitors who come to woo her. She describes them with laugh-out-loud humour, demolishing all the pretensions and idiocies of European royalty and nobility with a few well-chosen words, and bringing home to the Elizabethan audience the nitty gritty reality of the ‘glamour’ of the aristocratic elite class: the boring Neapolitan prince who “doth nothing but talk of his horse” and boasts so much about being able to do his own horse-shoeing that Portia thinks his mother must have had an affair with a blacksmith; the Count Palatine who does nothing but constantly frown at everything, with Portia declaring she would rather be married “to a death’s head with a bone in his mouth” than spend a night with him; then there is the French Lord, Monsieur Le Bon, of whom Portia says: “God made him and therefore let him pass for a man... why, he hath a horse better than the Neapolitan’s, a better habit of frowning than the Count Palatine”; and when Nerissa (her waiting-woman) asks Portia how she likes the Duke of Saxony’s nephew, she replies, “Very vilely in the morning when he is sober, and most vilely in the afternoon when he is drunk” [1.2.37-82]. The ennui and grossness of the ‘nobility’s’ behaviour is as alive and ill in Belmont as it is in Venice... or London.

Needless to say none of these ridiculous lovers manages to win the golden fleece – choose the correct casket holding Portia’s portrait within. Then along comes the young blade Bassanio, and Portia of course would love to crack and tell him which one to choose but she stays obedient to the plan of her father. And just as well, or we would not as an audience be the recipients of the wisdom that follows. As Bassanio considers which casket to choose, we are almost surprised at the wealth of wisdom that pours from him about the true nature of our deceitful world and the role that our eyesight plays in this – he hasn’t yet learned about not squandering his money but he is interestingly very aware on the subject of the ‘seeming’ nature of life.

As he ponders, musicians enter singing, asking the question: Where is ‘fancy’ bred? (Fancy in Shakespearean English, means fantasy and desire.) And the reply comes: “It is engendered in the eye, With gazing fed, and fancy dies/ In the cradle where it lies./ Let us all ring fancies knell. I’ll begin it. Ding dong bell” [3.2. 63-71]. In this song, which is like a commenting chorus, fancy and desire are considered deceptive and immature and hence lie ‘in the cradle’ (with a pun on ‘lie’).

This song urges the prospective lover to look beyond the province of the eye, which engenders desire, and to go deeper for his wisdom. Indeed the Ageless Wisdom teaches that the world of illusion is based on the way we use sight and what we want to see; our eyes are naturally designed to observe, yet we, who have become so sight-reliant rather than clairsentient in feeling, base what we see through the desires and reactions we are loaded with, not on truly reading and observing.

Held by the music and its wisdom, Bassanio launches into his eloquent exposition on the disconnect between appearance and reality, between the outer pretence and what lies beneath: “So may the outward shows be least themselves,/ The world is still deceived by ornament./ In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,/ But being seasoned with a gracious voice,/ Obscures the show of evil?” We get duped by the gracious tone of voice and the clever use of words, when in fact the intent of the plea is evil. The words we speak are no longer playing their true role of describing ‘what is’ but are rather creating a convenient lie.

The same, Bassanio says, goes for religion and its hypocritical Biblical text quoting, and for milky livered cowards pretending to be Hercules, and for beauty whose golden wanton locks turn out to be wigs –“the dowry of a second head,/ the skull that bred them in the sepulchre”.

In every one of these scenarios the person outwardly ‘looks the part’ but doesn’t live the truth of it.

This deceit can only happen when we have relied upon the eyes alone and have abandoned our connection to our inner sense of feeling and knowing. We get easily fooled by the show, yet this in itself is part of a massive charade in which we all consent to ignore what we all know is going on, so that our own lie will not be exposed. Thus we destroy the truth of ourselves, our bodies, and each other.

Bassanio concludes that “the seeming truth” can “entrap the wisest”, so he will choose not the “gaudy gold,/ Hard food for Midas” nor the “common drudge”, silver, but the leaden casket: “thou meagre lead... thy paleness moves me more than eloquence” [3.2.73-106]. Bassanio is not only aware of the deception of appearance, but also of the truth that deep within every apparently dense and base outward show of a man lies the gold of his true essence – an awareness that is very simply conveyed to the audience through this emblematic ritual of the would-be lover having to choose the true ‘casket’ which holds the essence of love. Within this ‘lead’ casket lies the portrait of Portia and a scroll that reads:

“You that choose not by the view/ Chance as fair and choose as true”.

Bassanio wraps up the proceedings with a witty speech doubting whether he can actually trust his sight in seeing her portrait in there and requiring Portia to sign a legal contract to prove it! “So thrice-fair lady, stand I even so,/ As doubtful whether what I see be true/ Until confirmed, signed and ratified by you”. Awareness is all. Awareness – of the falsity of outward appearances and of the fact that truth dwells deep within the human heart – delivers Portia to Bassanio and to united love. Belmont, if imperfect and still touched by the infections of Venice, at least provides a certain setting in which it is easier to reconnect with and know the pure love and beauty of our own true nature – a beauty that can never be taken away from us... only hidden beneath the ugly disguise of our ancient grudges and false pretences.

Comedy is traditionally a genre in which the key characters succeed in surmounting the obstacles in their path and come to a celebratory and harmonious conclusion. Yet with The Merchant of Venice this is not so easily arrived at. As is usual with comedy, the play does complete with unions and celebrations. All the lovers come together on a magical night at Belmont where Jessica and Lorenzo (symbolising Jew and Christian united in love) playfully compete to outdo each other in their flirtatious love duet, “In such a Night”. As they gather together at Belmont, the fact of Portia and Nerissa’s disguise at court as the male legal counsels, and the women’s ‘ring’ joke at their husbands’ expense, is revealed to the men and laughed over. The love-matches of Bassanio and Portia, Nerissa and Gratiano, Lorenzo and Jessica are celebrated, and as for Antonio, three of his argosies “are richly come to harbour suddenly”... showing that all is well. There is joy, playfulness and love.

But never has a comedy ended so poignantly, still-shadowed by the dire cost to a society that has based itself, not on the universal and heavenly law of brotherhood, but on the relationship of ancient grudge and hatred between men, and the perpetration of abuse, in any degree, as a legal and acceptable way of life. Shakespeare the surgeon leaves us acutely aware of the deep cut that is not yet healed – a cut that must be healed so that humanity can begin to live its true and glorious future.

"There is a battle between two sides. But one side is not at war and will not ever enter into such action, for it is eternally joy and in harmony with all. This leaves the warring side to be at war by its choice to do so. But who is it at war with if its supposed opposition cannot be engaged in warfare? The combative side is at war with all that its imagined opposition is, that is, it fights itself to not be all that it sees its projected opponent to be. The ‘opponent’ is pure love, pure wisdom and pure universal intelligence and never will it raise any other expression. The battle is thus a tactic, a mere strategy that is used to avoid what cannot in-truth be avoided. The battle therefore can never be won but, whilst the battle is waged, there is a form of triumph, the victory of conflict itself, for whilst the movement of resistance is engaged there is the delay of not reaching the end result – the fact that there is only love and thus a complete defeat of the war, which never took place but within the warring one."

Serge Benhayon Time, Space and all of us, Book 2 – Space, p 706-707


  • [1]

    William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, ed. John Drakakis , The Arden Shakespeare, London, 2010, p. 106

  • [2]

    Locus amoenus. Latin for ‘pleasant’ place. A literary term and poetic convention meaning a place of delight, often one in which a romantic encounter occurs. It is an idealised place of safety or comfort, usually presenting as a shady lawn under trees, a garden, or open woodland, or even a group of idyllic islands.

Based on and Inspired by Serge Benhayon and the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom.

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