Merchant Parents Child/Parent Models in Essay

Excerpt from Essay :



The parallels between these situations and Frye's basic assessment of the plot of New Comedies are not, perhaps, immediately apparent, but they have the same effect by the end of the play, where "the audience witnesses the birth of a renewed sense of social integration" (Frye 94). The parent/child relationships have been largely done away with in favor of te romantic ties that seem to be favored by the play. It is disingenuous, however, to dismiss the issue of class in this play outright. In many ways, the relationships between the various fathers and their children can be een to be indicative of class lines. Launcelot's position and its possible implications in his treatment of his father have already been discussed, but both his and Jessica's treatment of Shylock still deserved comment. Jessica is somewhat exonerated for her actions towards her father (again, the degree depends on the particular choices made in a given production), and Launcelot appears wholly in the right in his decision to leave his master. The rationalization in both instances seems to be that he is a Jew, not exactly a member of the lower class but an outsider, something somehow lower than even the poorest of Gentiles. Portia's father, on the other hand, was a nobleman deserving of respect from all, especially his daughter. The social integration that occurs at the end of the play is possible only because of the rejection of Shylock by his daughter and servant, and Portia's continued obedience.

The importance of the father has been a theme in literature at least since Oedipus Rex (in a strange and extreme fashion, it is true), and probably since long before that. But while Shakespeare highlights the importance and impact of the relationship in Merchant, he refrains from spelling out the detailed requirements of filial duty.

Works Cited

Frye, Northrop. "The Argument of Comedy." Shakespeare, Russ McDonald, ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. New York: Folger, 1997.

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Frye, Northrop. "The Argument of Comedy." Shakespeare, Russ McDonald, ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. New York: Folger, 1997.

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