Child/Parent Models in "The Merchant of Venice" Analytical Essay by Nicky

Child/Parent Models in "The Merchant of Venice"
An analysis of the child-parent relationships in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice".
# 148943 | 1,563 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2011 | US

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The paper highlights how in "The Merchant of Venice", several parental or pseudo-parental relationships are explored as major constituent parts to the several overarching plots. The paper provides examples of the father-child relationship and points out that only in one instance was there true devotion of a child to their parent. The paper also notes that while Shakespeare highlights the importance and impact of the parent-child relationship, he refrains from spelling out the detailed requirements of filial duty.

From the Paper:

"One particularly striking example of the father-son relationship in Merchant of Venice comes in Act II, scene two, when Launcelot Gobbo, servant to Shylock, meets his near-bind father in the street. His father is on a search for his son, and his subservient attitude towards Launcelot, whom he assumes to be of a higher social rank, seems to instantly evoke a sort of pity for the old man. instead of revealing himself to his father right away, however, Launcelot toys wit him, first insinuating that the man's son is dead, and might in fact be murdered. he does not even do this in a straightforward manner, but rather is obviously playing with the old man's--his father's--emotions for the joy of it: "for the young, indeed, deceased; or, as you would say in plain terms, gone to heaven" (II, ii, lines 55-9). His speech is full of anything but "plain terms," and this treatment of his father shows a definite lack of respect.
"His father, meanwhile, seems quite ready to help Launcelot in any of his endeavors. When the two happened to meet on the street, Launcelot had just decided to leave Shylock's service and seek employment elsewhere. As they are talking, Bassanio happens along, and old Gobbo does his best (which is admittedly not very good or, depending on the playing of the scene, works for all the wrong reasons) to talk his son's way into the gentleman's service. He shows a clear interest in his son's welfare, which is in direct contrast to his son's treatment of him."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Frye, Northrop. "The Argument of Comedy." Shakespeare, Russ McDonald, ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
  • Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. New York: Folger, 1997.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Child/Parent Models in "The Merchant of Venice" (2011, November 15) Retrieved February 16, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Child/Parent Models in "The Merchant of Venice"" 15 November 2011. Web. 16 February. 2020. <>