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How does Shakespeare use the relationships between fathers and daughters to engage the interest of the audience?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare use the relationships between fathers and daughters to engage the interest of the audience? Throughout Shakespeare's plays, he includes many father and daughter relationships. I will examine Juliet and Lord Capulet's relationship, along with Portia and her dead father's relationship. In Shakespeare's time, the father had total control over the daughter. He had control over her marriage. Most of the time the father would pay men to marry their daughter; Lord Capulet did this in Romeo and Juliet and paid a man called Paris to marry his daughter - Juliet. Lord Capulet did this because, in the 16th century, people married for business, not love. He also did it because he thought Juliet was old enough to marry, even though she was only 13. Many fathers made their daughters marry off young because a woman's life expectancy was low, about 30 years old. Lord Capulet and Portia's dead father both try to control their daughters by trying to control who they marry. ...read more.

Middle

In the beginning, Juliet is more obedient. When she first finds out she will be marrying a man called Paris, and is asked if she will accept Paris's love, she says: 'I'll look to like if looking liking move. But no more deep will I endart mine eye Than your consent gives strength to make it fly'. This shows that Juliet is willing to do anything to make her family happy by saying she will try to like him, and won't fall for him any more than her family allows her. The first line 'I'll look to like if looking liking move' means that Juliet will look at Paris and try to like him, but only if what she sees is likeable in her eyes. This is the obedient Juliet because this is when she said she would go along with what her parents wanted. But as Romeo and Juliet wore on, Juliet became more and more rebellious. An example of this is when she decides to marry Romeo, even though he is from the 'enemy' family, the Montagues. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sometimes the girl ends up rebelling against her family, like Juliet, and runs off with her 'Romeo'. In other cases, the girl is forced into an arranged marriage with someone who is a stranger to her; just like Juliet was with Paris. In this situation, the girl would probably feel like Juliet did when she fell in love with Romeo but had to marry Paris. So then the girl could do what Juliet did - go against all her family's wishes and marry her true love. The father/daughter relationships throughout Romeo and Juliet and Merchant of Venice keep the audience interested because the audience can sometimes connect with the characters in the books, and make them feel for the characters because they may understand how the character is feeling from experience. The relationships make the books appeal to a modern audience because of the fact that the relationships happen in the 21st century, and so people can begin to understand what others could be going through, then and now. ...read more.

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