Daughter & Father Relationship in The Merchant of Venice

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      There are two daughter and father relationships in the play The Merchant of Venice. First, there is the heiress of Belmont, Portia, and her relationship with her deceased father. Then, there is the relationship between Jessica and Shylock. Although Portia sounds depressed because she is tied to her vow with her father not to become involved in the selection of her husband, she is a devoted daughter. She honors her father, though she could easily break her vow and technically he could do nothing about it. She respects her father's integrity, intelligence, and wisdom. She does not, for instance, give Bassanio any hints as to which chest holds her picture, though the thought of his not finding it tears at her heart. She goes against her own instinct, in this case, and puts her future in her father's hands.

      On the other end of the spectrum is Jessica, who not only runs away from her father and steals a large sum of his money, but she also has little respect for him. She lavishly throws her money away. She gives away a precious family heir-loom, having not sentiment attached to it though her father's memory of the ring is so imbued with emotions. She does not in so many words claim that her father is wrong for his beliefs, but she feels saved having married a Christian and thus rids herself of being Jewish. She exhibits no emotions toward her father except for happiness in getting away from him.

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