You have among you many a purchased slave
Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
You use in abject and in slavish parts
Because you bought them. Shall I say to you
’Let them be free, marry them to your heirs.
Why sweat they under burdens?. . .
. . .
You will answer
’The slaves are ours.’ So do I answer you.
The pound of flesh which I demand of him
Is dearly bought. ‘Tis mine, and I will have it.

Again, in this passage, we find Shylock cleverly using Venice’s own laws to support his vengeful quest and enlisting society’s cruelties in defense of his own. Shylock begins his speech on a humane note, yet this opening serves merely to justify his indulgence in the same injustices he references. Shylock has no interest in exposing the wrongfulness of owning or mistreating slaves. Such property rights simply happen to be established by Venetian laws, so Shylock uses them to appeal for equal protection. If Antonio and company can purchase human flesh to “use in abject and in slavish parts,” Shylock reasons, then he can purchase part of the flesh of a Venetian citizen (IV.i.91). In his mind, he has merely extended the law to its most literal interpretation. Unlike the Venetians, who are willing to bend or break the law to satisfy their wants, Shylock never strays from its letter in his pursuit of his bond. His brand of abiding by the law, however, is made unsavory by the gruesome nature of his interpretation.