Fatherhood in Tartuffe and the Magic Flute

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Throughout history gender roles in society, as well as in the family unit, have changed. At the dawn of civilization many cultures were led my women in a matriarchal fashion (meaning that females held positions of power and influence over men). The logic behind this idea is one that is women are responsible for creating new life and bringing the next generation into the world, caring for their children and ensuring that our species lives on. It wasn’t until the importance of men in the reproductive process was realized that patriarchal (societies led by men) began to emerge. Once men had the power in the world, they would fight to hold on to it. Religion, “science”, and social structure would be used for thousands of years to keep women subservient to their male counterparts. As men took over, the structure of society and the family unit changed drastically. The role of fathers and father figures in the assigned readings so far shows different responsibilities owed to a father based on time period and society in which they live.

In Mozart’s The Magic Flute, there is not a father characterized in the story, but Sarastro acts as a strong father figure to the protagonists. He is first introduced by the Queen of the Night as the villain of the tale who has kidnapped her daughter and must be punished. Tamino soon discovers it is The Queen of the Night who is evil and Sarastro is the pure one. When Tamino agrees to join the brotherhood, he falls under the authority of Sarastro. There are many references to or about the once secret society known as the “Freemasons” throughout this opera, the “brotherhood” is a direct representation of the masons and many of the trials they must go through for membership; with Sarastro representing the Master Mason. He may not be related to Tamino by blood, but as a religious leader, Sarastro holds many of the same duties to his followers as a father holds to his family. One of the perks of his power is the authority to punish and...
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