The great Anthonio expecting 'thrice three times the valew of this Bond', might have entered into it defiantly recklessly, desperately. But how otherwise?
Prof. R. Moulton has argued that Anthonio's consent to the Flesh-Penalty was prepared for "by one of Shakespeare's greatest triumphs of mechanical ingenuity." "Shylocke says in effect: Since you Christians cannot understand interest in the case of money, while you acknowledge it in the case of flesh and blood % suppose I take as my interest in this bond, a pound of your own flesh. In such a context the monstrous proposal sounds almost natural."
It is clear that Shylocke could almost make a victim of Prof. Moulton. Shylocke says forfeit, forfeiture, (penalty Anthonio calls it); Prof. Moulton makes him suggest a pound of flesh as interest. If interest is taken, it is to be paid as a certainty, not as a contingency. It was as a rule deducted in advance2. That means that Anthonio irrevocably owes Shylocke a pound of his flesh, and yet Anthonio is 'content infaith', and says 'there is much kindnesse in the Jew'? But then Shylocke has just disclaimed interest, 'no doit of usance'; and yet it is to be nominated and expressed in the Bond? We should not confuse interest with forfeit. Forfeit is the penalty to be suffered in case of default; it is a menace to serve as a deterrent against negligence on the part of the debtor. Not until he failed to pay could the forfeit be exacted. Let a jurist explain this:
1 Shakespeare as a Dramatio Artist, p. 64; Prof. Moulton as a good Aristotelian overlooks that it is Shylocke and not Anthonio who speaks of the increase of flocks, i.e. interest in flesh.
1 Interest or usury was taken in, not on the capital lent, e.g. 12 in the hundred.