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What does Seven Pounds mean?

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

A recent caller posed a natural question: What is the source of the title of the Will Smith movie "Seven Pounds"?

It's not the weight of a human heart, which is far lighter, but an apparent reference to a line from Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" featuring Shylock as a moneylender who demands a pound of flesh.

In the movie, Smith plays a character trying to make amends and change the lives of seven strangers. He confesses, "In seven days, God created the world, and in seven seconds, I shattered mine."

When I was a freshman in high school, we had to memorize the passage that started with, "The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven ..."

Of course we also had to learn the Emily Dickinson poem that starts, "I'm nobody! Who are you?" Its line about how dreary to be somebody clearly predates today's celebrity culture.

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