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Merchant of Venice, D4r

Editorial note

For our rendition of D4R, we reviewed our page through a feminist lens. This page draws attention to the idea that women were viewed as commodities to be bought, sold, or traded like any other object, and that their value was often tied to their ability to produce or secure wealth for their families. From a feminist perspective, this kind of language is problematic because it perpetuates the idea that women are objects to be owned and controlled by men, rather than autonomous individuals with their own agency and worth. It reinforces patriarchal power structures that prioritize men's interests over women's and reduce women to mere objects of male desire or possession. To emphasize this perspective, I color coded words that are objects that are used interchangeably with the word daughter, drawing attention to the dehumanization and commodification of women at the time. I kept the original italicization of Antonio’s name, as it emphasizes his importance as a wealthy merchant, and therefore reinforcing the sexist idea that men's financial success is more valuable than women's agency or autonomy. Overall, we made the text more modern and accessible to the general audience. We removed the long s, as it made the text more difficult to read for modern readers. By presenting the text in a more understandable way, we hoped to encourage more attention to what is happening in the text itself. Our revisions seeked to bring attention to the problematic nature of the patriarchal power structures present in the text and the dehumanization of women. Lastly, we revised the name and made it more explicit by replacing the abbreviated name with the full name, but kept the format the same to avoid confusion about who was speaking.

Solanio: I never heard a passion so confused, So strange, outrageous, and so variable as the dog lew did utter in the streets, My daughter, O my ducats, O my daughter, Fled with a Christian, O my Christian ducats. Justice, the law, my ducats, and my daughter, A sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats Of double ducats, two sealed bags of ducats Of double ducats, stolen from me by my daughter, And jewels, two stones, two rich and precious stones, Stolen by my daughter justice, find the girl, She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats. Salarino: Why all the boys in Venice follow him, Crying his stones, his daughter, and his ducats. Solanio: Let good Anthonto look he keep his day or he shall pay for this. Salarino: Marry well remembered, I reason with a Frenchman yesterday, Who told me, in the narrow seas that part The French and English, there miscarried A vessel of our country richly fraught: I thought upon Anthonio when he told me, And wished in silence that it were not his. Solanio: You were best to tell Anthonio what you hear, Yet do not suddenly, for it may grieve him. Salarino. A kinder gentleman treads not the earth, You saw Bassanio and Anthonio part, Bassanio told him he would make some speed Of his return: he answered, do not so, Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio, but stay the very ripping of the time; and for the Jew’s bond which he hath of me, let it not enter in your mind of love. be merry, and employ your chiefest thoughts To courtship, and such fair ostents of love: As shall conveniently become you there, And even there his eye being big with tears, Turning his face, he put his hand behind him, And with affection wondrous sensible

Image credit: Rare Books & Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library, copy G.176.16. The most excellent historie of the merchant of Venice. First Quarto. London: 1600.

Citing this page: Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice, D4r. London: 1600. Cacodemon Digital Shakespeare. Edited by [your names]. Source edition: Rare Books & Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library (copy G.176.16).