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Merchant of Venice, F1v


Editors Notes - Joviana and Diana


In our edits we wanted to highlight Portia’s strengths and contrast them with her future relationship with Bassanio. In the original Portia is self-deprecating and makes herself appear as though she needs Bassanio, in order to be complete. Our process begins with the omission of Portia’s self-deprecating words and phrases as a means to make her sound more powerful and in control of her own destiny. However, we were sure to still make Portia long for the companionship that comes with having a lifelong partner. This is shown in the line “I was not born to be yours/But my smile reaches infinity when I look at you” or in the start when Portia states “In hopes that our love grows a thousand times more”, these specific lines are to show her autonomy. Portia wants to share her power with Bassanio, rather than relinquish it in the name of marriage. 


Also in the original Portia uses the ring to represent herself, which in turn makes her become objectified as an object of desire. Therefore we changed the ring to represent their love rather than her personhood, so that it is a clear union and not her losing herself to him. This is juxtaposed with the idea that “My heart I fear, is water in your hands”, which portrays the vulnerability that comes with becoming one and does not belittle or take away Portia’s strength. 


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, F1v. London: 1600. Cacodemon Digital Shakespeare. Edited by [your names]. Source edition: Rare Books & Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library (copy G.176.16).


  1. Por. All this gold, yet nothing compares to you 

    All this beauty, yet nothing is truer than you 

    I rub the lamp in superstition

    The wish is called in ambition 

    In hopes that our love grows a thousand times more

    All that I am is better when I am with you

    Only the shooting stars know my heartache 

    Virtuous, beauty, richness, and friends is all that I have 

    My soul within seeks for agreement from you or I will deteriorate 

    A woman stands before you

    let her guide you for I know just as much as you do

    That we are each other's halves 

    I was not born to be yours

    But my smile reaches infinity when I look at you 

    I will not change nor kneel to submission 

    But I will not stunt our love in this proposition 

    As we transform together,

    our roots will settle in this mansion

    Let's put greed aside 

    And Intertwine our veins to bleed as one 

    Our love is confined to a ring 

    My heart I fear, is water in your hands

    Let it slip between your fingers 

    And we will never get the chance 

    To keep our promise, let the bling 

    Lead you to a rich world we no longer hinder