The Merchant of Venice Father-Daughter Relationships

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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 of three caskets, one of them containing Portia’s portrait and the man who chooses this casket wins Portia. The final result was that Portia would marry a man who truly loved, who didn't pick gold or silver, they picked Portia. ‘Who chooses his meaning chooses you-will no doubt never be chosen by any rightly but one who you shall rightly love.’ (I, ii, 29-31). Portia wasn’t entirely pleased about this arrangement and about her future being dictated by her dead father. ‘I may neither choose who I would nor refuse who I dislike, so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father?’ (I, ii, 22-24). Even though she is anxious about who her husband might be, she continues with her father’s dying wishes, showing trust and love, a completely different set of emotions than those between Shylock and Jessica.

Shylock’s love for his daughter isn’t as strong as his love for his money and jewels. When Shylock decides to go off to the party, he has an uncomfortable feeling about leaving his daughter because of the ill feeling he has that, ‘There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest, for I did dream of money bags tonight.’ (II, v, 17-18). When Jessica decides to run away from Shylock, he is furious because she stole...