The Merchant of Venice Father-Daughter Relationships Essay examples

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The play ‘The Merchant of Venice’, by William Shakespeare, shows two different father-daughter relationships. The relationships are between Portia and her recently diseased father, the other involving Jessica and Shylock, a Jewish money lender. The first relationship emphasizes love, respect and trust whereas the other are obviously different. Portia’s relationship with her recently deceased father was full of respect and love, whereas Jessica didn't like her father and thought he was rude.

Portia’s father absolutely adores Portia and he wishes for the best possible husband for her. To ensure his dreams were for-filled, he devised a challenge for the men who wish to marry his daughter. He planned the challenge, making them choose out
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O my daughter! Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats! My ducats and my daughter!’ (II, iix, 15-17). He would ‘rather his daughter dead, and the jewels in her ear!’ (III, I, 81-82). Even though Shylock and Jessica’s relationship is filled with minor affection. Portia’s love for her father is visible and true.

Portia is a bachelorette in Belmont, the heiress to her dead father’s fortune, which attracts men from all over the world. ‘In Belmont is a lady richly left; And she is fair, and fairer than that word...For the four winds blow in from every coast renowned suitors’ ( I, i, 161 – 169). Portia loves her recently deceased father and this is shown when she decides to carry on with the casket challenge for her suitors that her father started. The men that arrive, wanting Portia’s hand in marriage are all drunk and boisterous and she isn’t particularly attracted to them but she is obliged to, because of her father’s wishes. The way Portia acts towards her father shows how much she loved him, unlike Jessica’s attitude towards her father.

Jessica is Shylock’s only daughter. She leaves her father heart broken when she decides to run off with a Christian, Lorenzo, and steals to her father’s ducats and some family treasures. Jessica is ashamed to be Shylock's daughter and she absolutely detests living in her father’s house commenting that, ‘What heinous sin it in me to be ashamed to be my father’s child.’ (II, iv, 16-17). When Jessica gives Lancelot a letter for
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