Asked • 06/29/19

Why does Portia say this in The Merchant of Venice?

In Act III Scene 2 of *The Merchant of Venice* by William Shakespeare, > Portia : One half of me is yours, the other half yours. Mine own, I would say; but if mine then yours. Roughly translated it means "One half of me is yours, and the other half—my own half, I’d call it—belongs to you too. If it’s mine, then it’s yours, and so I’m all yours." Why doesn't Portia directly say that she totally belongs to Bassanio? Why take this "curved route" to end up at the same place ?

1 Expert Answer


Heather W. answered • 06/29/19

5.0 (91)

Literature instructor, specializing in Shakespeare

Alan G.

Freud quotes this as an example of what we call a Freudian slip, and he gives accolades to the immortal bard for his understanding of human nature. She meant to say, "One half of me is your, the other half mine," but her unconscious desires manifested themselves in a slip of the tongue, which she then, as most people do, tried to explain with "Mine own I would say; but if mine then yours."


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