Imagine that the heart used in a life saving transplant was obtained, unbeknownst to the recipient, through felonious means. The donor was murdered and the heart was harvested illicitly.
While this hypothetical situation is not known to have occurred, it presents an interesting moral question. “Must the recipient of the illegal heart be required to relinquish it?” Most would likely feel that, since it was not due to any fault of the the recipient, taking the heart back would be ridiculous.
This admittedly bizarre scenario at first glance may not relate to today’s realities. However, this is far from true. In this country there are over 600,000 people who were living with life supporting assurances who have had the heart of these assurances removed by officials who use the same arguments as those presented by Shylock in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. SparkNotes’ Shakespeare Study Guide points out, “In his mind, he has merely extended the law to its most literal interpretation. …. Shylock never strays from its letter in…
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