Social Science

Family Relationships

Family Relationships


No household in the English-speaking world is properly furnished unless it contains a copy of the Holy Bible and one of the works of William Shakespeare. He was born on April 23,1564 in the village of Stratford-on-Avon in the county of Warwickshire. His father John Shakespeare and mother was Mary Arden. William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”. Shakespearian play’s explorations of governance and loyalty, and their representations of the cultural role of the theater. Alongside the plays, if time permits, we will examine a few cinematic versions of these plays to see how Shakespeare’s dysfunctional families appear on the big screen. “Family relationship which have got grater importance in Shakespeare’s play”, is selected as my research topic.

By natural from bron to death we have to establish a number of relationship in life. every single people have a family, each relationship convey different minnings. only the relationship of a family for those we work hard, we alive.Magical playwright William Shakespeare has portrayts a number of family relation in his different classes of plays. That showes more practal side of human relation which is as mirror of society.many of his plays has deals with family relationship.major of them are Hamlet, King Lear,Othello, Macbeth, Much Ado nothing, Marchent of vanice and many other.

In Shakespeares play we find parent-child,father-daughter,mother-daughter,father-son,morher–son,husband–wife,brother,sister,uncle-nephew and other relation with love, conflict, pain, war, believe, disbelieve, honour, and many thing eals. Which elements has made each play more successful and remarkable one. The elasrtation of family relationship in Shakespeares play is the exliency and great explor of his knowledge.


One of the singal achievement of 20th century Shakespeare criticism is taxonomy, the descriptive analysis of the kinds of play’s Shakespeare wrote. The folio editors divided the plays in to only the three groups reflected in the title- Mr William Shakespeare’s comedies, Histories & Tragedies. The most familiar of this is the category of romance, consolidated in the nineteenth century by Edward Dowden, who was following a suggestion of Coleridge. As a consequence most editions of the complete work produced in the twentieth century designated the last four non collaborative plays as romances and so grouped them. And threreghout the century critics proposed, discussed, rejected and debated a variety of subcategories: “Raman Tragedy”, “Dark comedy”, “Romantic comedy”, “Love Tragedy,” “Statiric comedy”, and other such combinations. While appreciating the desire for praise description, one can see that the reduction ad absurdum of this practice is the plolonian “Tragical-comical his torical-postral”.

Early Works: Histories and Comedies

All of Shakespeare’s play’s were based on ideas by other people, or were drown from historical events. He than played around with them, additing to them and changing some of the events he read about elsewhere. This is especially true of the history play.

Shakespeare’s  comedies were supposed to be funy, and all the evidence suggests that they were popular during his life time. However even the tragedies have funny moments, so rather than define the comedies in terns of humor, critics do so through marriage. A good rule of thum is, there fore that a Shakespeare comedy will end in one or more marriages. The events that occur during the course of a comedy will not necessary be pleasant. In order to attain the aim of marriage, the heroes and heroines will first have to pan through varios troubles. There must be overcome in order for the marriage resolution to take place. Shakespeare uses many different types of plot divice to place obstructions in the way of lovers. Explains include supernatural intervention, for exmple the love Juice in A Midsummer Night Dream. There are commands from beyond the grave, as in the casket plot of the Merchant of  vanice. And there are rivals in love, such as suitors for Binca’s hand in the Taming of the shrew.

With the exception of “Romeo and Juliet,” William Shakespeare’s first plays were mostly histories written in the early 1590s. “Richard II” and “Henry VI,” parts 1, 2, and 3 and “Henry V” dramatize the destructive results of weak or corrupt rulers and have been interpreted by drama historians as Shakespeare’s way of justifying the origins of the Tudor dynasty.

Shakespeare also wrote several comedies during his early period: the witty romance “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the romantic “Merchant of Venice,” the wit and wordplay of “Much Ado About Nothing,” the charming “As You Like It,” and Twelfth Night. Other plays, possibly written before 1600, were “Titus Andronicus,” “The Comedy of Errors,” “The Taming of the Shrew” and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.”

Later Works: Tragedies and Tragicomedies

One way of looking at shakespears tragedies is that they deal with the some issues, as the comedies, but end in the deaths of the main characters usually many other as well. It was in William Shakespeare’s later period, after 1600, that he wrote the tragedies “Hamlet,” “King Lear,” “Othello” and “Macbeth.” In these, Shakespeare’s characters present vivid impressions of human temperament that are timeless and universal. Possibly the best known of these plays is “Hamlet,” with its exploration of betrayal, retribution, incest and moral failure. These moral failures often drive the twists and turns of Shakespeare’s plots, destroying the hero and those he loves.

In William Shakespeare’s final period, he wrote tragicomedies. Among these are “Cymbeline,” “The Winter’s Tale,” and “The Tempest.” Though graver in tone than the comedies, they are not the dark tragedies of “King Lear” or “Macbeth” because they end with reconciliation and forgiveness.

Mixt genre play

many Shakespeare’s play do not fit easily in to the classifications explored above. The mixed-genre plays are sometimes taken as a group because the exhibit certain fanciful features. The in corporate classical elements, magic and travel. They are plot lies that seem to link them, superficially at least, to a long tradition of tales of this nature. Individual plays conveys individual meanings here highlighting part is family relationship of shakespearse’s paly in his innovation. There is many play’s where exploited different types of relation in a family. William Shakespease. The  magical artist, portraits that family relationship in his supreme work . common humanity, peoples character, different conflict’s, different aim and expectations are clearly marked different numbers of relationship in his play’s.

Writing Style

William Shakespeare’s early plays were written in the conventional style of the day, with elaborate metaphors and rhetorical phrases that didn’t always align naturally with the story’s plot or characters. However, Shakespeare was very innovative, adapting the traditional style to his own purposes and creating a freer flow of words. With only small degrees of variation, Shakespeare primarily used a metrical pattern consisting of lines of unrhymed iambic pentameter, or blank verse, to compose his plays. At the same time, there are passages in all the plays that deviate from this and use forms of poetry or simple prose.


Whether in relation to history, tragedy, or romance, the depiction of family is a ubiquitous element in Shakespearean drama. Indeed, some critics contend that the subject of family relations figures prominently in at least two-thirds of Shakespeare’s plays, while others claim that the theme of family is a fundamental concern of the entire Shakespearean canon. Several scholars have made strong arguments for a career-spanning development in Shakespeare’s depiction of the complexities of family interaction, highlighting such tragic works as Hamlet, which features the young Danish prince’s agonized internal struggles with the death of his father and incestuous remarriage of his mother, and King Lear, a piece predicated on the disastrous paternal love of a foolish king for his youngest daughter. Overall, critics have studied Shakespeare’s multifaceted evocation of the family in its many forms, from mildly dysfunctional to brutally horrifying. At one extreme, Titus Andronicus demonstrates the bloody severing of family bonds through the misdirection of an honor-bound, fatherly love. At the other extreme, Shakespeare’s romances, such as Pericles and The Tempest, feature a widened appreciation of the delights of familial love as a source of human reconciliation and redemption. Studying the Shakespearean depiction of family, Derek Brewer (1980) observes that a number of the tragedies and all of the late romances are obsessed with images of parents. In regard to Hamlet, King Lear, and Cymbeline, Brewer traces the arc of Shakespeare’s fascination with the family drama as an archetypal, symbolic narrative of brothers, sisters, parents, and children, and the psychological, social, and cultural forces that bind them. Bruce Young (1992) chronicles another element of the Shakespearean family drama by investigating formal blessings offered from parents to children. Contradicting feminist suppositions, Young argues that such blessings frequently offer genuine expressions of familial love rather than merely reinforcing patriarchal hierarchies.

C. L. Barber is generally credited with focusing contemporary interest on the subject of Shakespeare’s tragic families. In his 1976 essay, Barber observes that in the major tragedies, and subsequently in the late romances, Shakespeare consistently approached the problems of family interaction. Barber’s analysis of the Shakespearean family tragedy hinges on moments of failure in Christian ritual, failures that often signal the dissolution of tenuous emotional bonds, as represented in the familial strife of Hamlet and even more thoroughly in King Lear. Focusing his study principally on the latter drama, Thomas McFarland (1981) first follows the plot of King Lear as it elevates the mundane realities of family relations to emblematic and tragic levels. Lear, as both monarch and paternal figure, according to McFarland, embodies a confused tension between fatherhood and kingship, and represents a displacement of sexual urges that signals the tragic ends of both himself and his beloved daughter Cordelia. Nevertheless, McFarland finds in the strong bond between Lear and his youngest child the “quintessence” of the Shakespearean family distilled in a symbolic transcendence over death. Offering an alternative approach to family in King Lear, Lynda E. Boose (see Further Reading) examines the archetypal paradigm demonstrated by Lear in his authoritarian demand that his three daughters present him with displays of their love. With this action, according to Boose, Lear unleashes sublimated threats of incest and the concentrated violence of patriarchal domination, forces that culminate in the play’s ensuing tragedies. Offering an additional interpretation of King Lear, Mark R. Schwehn (see Further Reading) shifts emphasis to the drama’s subplot involving Gloucester and his two sons, the legitimate Edgar and bastard Edmund. Schwehn suggests that Shakespeare mingled themes of paternal and filial love with the drama’s representation of divine justice, and argues that the imperfect, earthly reconciliation between Edgar and Gloucester mirrors the transcendent reunion of Lear and Cordelia. Studying an earlier tragedy, Max H. James (1989) illustrates Shakespeare’s use of family as metaphor in Romeo and Juliet. James finds that the adolescent lovers of the play’s title, unable to marry due to the quarreling of their respective families, symbolize a form of disobedience or rebellion. This disobedience, James concludes, highlights the destructive potential of family bonds as they intersect with passionate love.

Not all of Shakespeare’s family portraits end in tragedy. In his histories and late romances, Shakespeare presented differing perspectives on the dramatic rules of family interaction. As C. L. Barber and others have observed, in the gap between the English chronicle history plays composed in the late sixteenth century and the romances of the early seventeenth century, Shakespeare revealed new complexities and innovations in his depiction of the family. Robert B. Pierce, in his 1971 survey of the English histories, notes that family plays a significant role in each of these dramas. In observing these works, from King John toHenry V, Pierce discovers that Shakespeare patterned his depiction of the English royal line in such a way as to reinforce the principal, political themes of these plays. Symbolically, the family parallels the state in Pierce’s analysis, and stands against the forces of anarchy and political disorder. According to Pierce, this distinction is further highlighted inHenry IV, Parts 1 and 2, in which Prince Hal, through his choice between his father King Henry IV and father-surrogate Falstaff, selects from among the orderly or chaotic values of family that best suit his development as a man and as a future king. Turning to the genre of romance, a number of critics have noted Shakespeare’s deepened, psychosocial understanding of family relations in his late dramas. Considering five of these works, including Pericles, The Winter’s Tale,and The Tempest, Coppélia Kahn (1980) explores the Shakespearean romance as a form of wish fulfillment, and particularly probes the desire of male protagonists to free themselves from the constraints of family while continuing to enjoy a nurturing, familial love. Focusing on the theme of multiple and substitute parenting, Marianne Novy (2000) examines Pericles, Cymbeline, and The Winter’s Tale, stressing the representation of good versus evil parents, familial recognition, and issues of nature versus nurture.


“A little more than kin, and less than kind.” – Hamlet, I.ii – One of the most appealing aspects of Shakespeare’s plays is that every one of his characters is intriguing, complex, contradictory and different from the ones that came before.

There is no such thing as a stock Shakespearean father, sister, uncle or wife. Subsequently, the portrayal of family relationships in Shakespeare’s plays is as diverse as the portrayal of the characters themselves.

Shakespeare gives his audiences warring brothers, such as Oliver and Orlando in As You Like It; ungrateful daughters, in the shape of Goneril and Regan from King Lear; devoted siblings, like Viola and Sebastian in Twelfth Night; and disobedient daughters, such as Desdemona in Othello.

However, one thing that does seem universal in Shakespeare’s plays is that there is no such thing as a completely content family relationship. Even fairly happy family bonds are complicated by some outside force, for example the marriage of Brutus and Portia in Julius Caesar, which is strained by Brutus’ inability to speak to his wife about his part in the assassination plot.

Partly, this is in order to create conflict; the lifeblood of drama. However, it also adds realism to the texts, because, just as no human being is all good or all bad, no relationship can be perpetually happy. This is especially true of relationships between family members, because the emotions are, usually, so strong.

Shakespeare’s Sisters and Brothers

The most famous sisters in Shakespeare’s cannon are Viola and Olivia in Twelfth Night; Goneril, Regan and Cordelia in King Lear and the Weird Sisters in Macbeth. The likelihood is that the witches use the term ‘sisters’ in reference to a sisterhood of their craft, rather than an actual familial relationship. So that leaves Viola, Olivia and Lear’s girls.

Viola, as mentioned above, is a devoted sister, who is grieving the loss of her brother. She and Olivia have much in common, as Olivia is mourning for her brother, too. The difference, of course, being that Olivia’s brother really is dead.

Goneril, Regan and Cordelia are a fascinating threesome. It can be argued that Cordelia, despite feeling that her sisters were wrong to profess so strong and obviously disingenuous love for their father, retains an affection for them. “I know you what you are;/And like a sister am most loath to call/Your faults as they.


Shakespeare’s characters usually have at least two sides to them in any play. Hamlet is both a dutiful son and a rebellious youth addressing existential ideas; Macbeth is a proud leader but a weak husband; Helena is both scorned lover and loyal friend in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

These characters reveal there is always more than one perspective, and complement the use of two storylines that Shakespeare often employs. Including analysis of characters that are key to an argument or discussion will strengthen the essay while also linking to the plot and specific use of language.

For essays that deal with more than one play by Shakespeare, comparisons can be drawn between characters and plays. For example Edmund, the bastard villainous son in King Lear, could be compared to Caliban who is an orphan creature in The Tempest. Both have mutinous plans in mind, yet their stories make them sympathetic characters at times.

Depending on the type of essay and the level of sophistication needed, making a passing comparison while focusing on one play may highlight a higher level of knowledge that the essay marker could reward.

In King Lear the main plot focuses on the eponymous character as he struggles with his family and encroaching age (or madness), while the second plot deals with Edmund’s plan to kill his brother and take the title from his father, the Duke of Gloucester. Both of these storylines address themes of family and leadership in comparative and illuminating ways.

Interweave to create much of the comedy throughout the play, and both deal with similar themes of love and loyalty.

Considering the language, characters and plot within plays by Shakespeare allows for a greater understanding of these texts, which will result in more comprehensive Shakespeare essays.

While there are only a limited number of Shakespearean plays that are studied, the comparisons and analyses are endless.


The importance of family life was increasingly important in the Elizabethan era as it served an important role in the functioning of society. Thus, it is not all together surprising that the subject of family life plays a pivotal role in Shakespearean plays. During that period parent and child relationships were much more structured and straightforward. The children were mostly subservient and carried out their parent’s wishes, and their parents taught them the ways of the world, introduced them to society and arranged their betrothals. Family life was binded by sociological and psychological factors and greatly influenced by affected by social rank, the laws of the land that were for the most part dictated by the Church (Elizabethan Life).

There was an emphasis on appearances and family members had to maintain a role specific image. Gender roles were openly emphasized as males adopted the dominant leader of the clan position while women had to obey them having no power of their own. Any sort of disobedience from women was seen as sinful and insulting the religion. Male heirs were educated and they helped further the family line, whereas female heirs were taught household tasks and married off to secure fortunes that would benefit the rest of the family. Elizabethan families had an unmistakable emotional distance that stemmed from the heightened emphasis placed on maintaining the proper image. The Elizabethan family is characterized as “distant, manipulative, and deferent” (p17) according to Lawrence Stones, The Family, Sex, and Marriage in England 1500-1800 due to this overwhelming pressure to uphold the family name and honor.

Shakespeare explored family dynamics and the complexities of interaction most aptly in his tragic plays Hamlet, and King Lear. Hamlet centers around the grieving son of the late Danish king who is tormented by his mother’s incestuous remarriage and his duty to avenge his dead father, and King Lear features a dying monarch that tests his daughters love for him leading him to disaster. Both plays are set against a chaotic political backdrop that seems to serve.      


In ‘The Merchant of Venice’, there are three parent-child relationships; Shylock and Jessica, Portia and her deceased father, and Launcelot and Old Gobbo. There is an obvious contrast between these relationships. Although Portia’s father is deceased, they had a good relationship while he was alive. However, the relationship between Shylock and Jessica is repressive and conflictual and ends tragically. After Shakespeare’s song, Hamnet, died tragically in 1596, he began a theatrical study of parent-child relationships for the rest of his career. Although other Shakespeare plays are also based on this theme, ‘The Merchant of Venice’, written around a year after his son died, looks into the relationships, which varied insights, so we can see the different point of views.

Although Portia’s relationship with her father is good, there is some conflict just like any paternal relationship. When her father passed away, he left a will stating that suitors to Portia would have to choose one of three caskets. If their choice were correct, then they would be able to marry Portia. However, Portia does not think the lottery is a good idea and could mean that she will have to marry somebody that she does not want to. She shows this by saying, “So is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father.” In those days, it was common for parents to choose their daughters’ partner, especially those from rich, educated families. Seeing as Portia was rich, clever and beautiful, she would have many suitors, and most of them may not have been suitable for her. The idea of the lottery shows that her father had her best intentions at heart, showing a good relationship between the two. Portia also accepts her father’s will, showing that he is a still a strong influence.


Though the impression that numerous Shakespearean plays on fathers and daughters are very similar to each other is awaken, however this is not true. Many plays depict the same situations with similar circumstances, still it is a great fallacy to suppose that there is only few variation. Indisputably each play has different essential themes, different focus and particulars. Many elements seem similar or actually are really similar, however Shakespeare’s subtle works are nevertheless unique and ingenious – each peace of work its own way.

Among Shakespeare’s tragedies and comedies there are a lot of plays in which the relationship between parents with their children is focussed. Particularly interesting is the relationship between fathers and daughters as it is most controversial. Shakespeare destines most of the father- daughter pairs to fail. Usually the father proves to be inept and incapable as he neither knows his own child’s nature, nor is he able or willing to get to know her. His paternal authority does not allow him to descent on his daughter’s level and make an attempt to understand her will and her needs. All the inept fathers of the further discussed plays undergo punishment – the death, either his daughter’s or his own or both die. On that account he can be empathised with, of course, but yet it is often his lack of wisdom which results in a tragedy.

Most of Shakespearian daughters are rebels who contradict their father’s word and will. Obedience is every daughter’s main duty and those who make an exception to the rule are definitely just as incapable daughters. However in comedies it is perfectly legitimate for a daughter to make her own choices and still be happy. Whereas in tragedies Shakespeare is not very generous with his heroines and does not bestow them such a lucky lot – pretty much as their fathers.

The selection of the works is undertaken according to the plots in which the interaction between fathers and daughters is central. In this essay following plays are analysed in detail:Romeo and Juliet, Othello, the Machant of Venice, King Lear, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, A Midsummer Night’s DreamandThe Tempest.Six various father-daughter constellations arise from the four tragedies and two comedies.

 “Shakespeare created two of his most memorable father-daughter pairs at the beginning and end of his career” (Hamilton. 2003:13).Romeo and Julietin 1596 andThe Tempestin 1611. The conflict situations between fathers and daughters, caused by the discord on the choice of the right partner for the young girl, are very similar in both plays, as well as the fathers’ and daughters’ personal characters. However, these are the two of his most contrasting plays regarding the father figure. Juliet and Miranda have many things in common, for example their beauty and intelligence. Besides that they are both the only child in the family and due to this fact they constitute the only hope and that is why the main focus for their father’s attention.

As already pointed out before, most of Shakespeare’s generation conflicts first appear when it comes to choice of the future husband and in these plays they constitute the main plot. The entire plays are actually about finding out if the lovers succeed to marry or not, unlikeOthellowhich does not end immediately after Desdemona’s marriage. Infact, the last one is rather about the tragic outcome of such a marriage without her father’s blessing.

Both Juliet and Miranda unconsciously finds her object of love in the son of her father’s bitterest enemy and remain loyal to her genuine feelings. Shakespeare puts an end to their fathers’ feud in both plays, but in one of them the newly established peace does not matter any more.

The fathers, Capulet and Prospero have as well a lot of similarities. The main point is that both of them consider their only child’s marriage to a worthy suitor to be the most important task in life. Taking into account the genre of the two plays, one being a tragedy and the other a comedy according to their endings, one catastrophic, the other triumphant, it is striking that the father’s behaviour is crucial for the outcome of the story in both cases. His daughter’s happiness and even life lie completely in his hand, so that the way he treats determines his daughter’s fate. Though both fathers act in their daughters’ best interests, it becomes an issue of understanding one’s child’s own feelings and desires in order to really choose the best for her future.

Prospero is a Shakespearean father figure who approaches best a character of a perfect father. He does not lose his paternal authority and at the same time he is wise enough and benevolent enough to reassure the happiness of his daughter.

Besides that, Prospero is the one who manages to solve the feud with his brother. This corresponds to the on-going feud between the Capulets and the Montagues, which could be resolved by Juliet’s marriage to Romeo, which unfortunately remains secret till the moment when it is too late. Well, the feud is resolved in the end:CAPULET: O brother Montague, give me thy hand. This is my daughter’s jointure, for no more Can I demand. MONTAGUE: But I can give thee more, For I will raise her statue in pure gold, That whiles Verona by that name is known, There shall no figure at such rate be set As that of true and faithful Juliet. CAPULET: As rich shall Romeo’s by his lady’s lie, Poor sacrifices of our enmity! (Shakespeare,R.&J., p.278,ll.296-304).

The problem still remains the price paid for this solution. This price is just too high, indeed the highest possible which could ever be paid by any parent: his only child’s life. The fact that the feud is finished in the end adjoins even more to the tragic in the play. The reader or the audience cannot help thinking that if Juliet had only “resurrected” earlier, before Romeo’s arrival, or if Friar Lawrence had arrived in the Capulets’ tomb before Romeo, the final catastropy could have been prevented. But inRomeo and Julietfortuna is obviously not at the side of the lovers. By contrast, the lovers’ fate inA Midsummer Night’s Dreamis helped by the magic powers of Oberon- a hero of greek mythology- and his servant Puck. Here, the metaphysical forces interfere and solve the human conflicts to their best. The magic accompanies the entire acting in the woods, where decisions are made. Thanks to this magic interference the play belongs to the genre of comedy. It is interesting, that even this play is not one hundred percent comic, as some elements are almost tragic, though not to the extent as to calling the play a tragicomedy. These tragic elements are provided for example by the inconstancy of the feelings of men and married women, as the married ruling couples are involved in a diagonal affair with each other, providing an amoral example for the young generations. The young quartett ends up mirroring the behaviour of the older ones at one stage in the woods, but thanks to the constancy of Hermia’s and Helena’s feelings for their loved, they manage in the end to find the right way, which means the right partner. The happy end is a girl’s accomplishment inA Midsummer Night’s Dream.It can be followed that only unmarried innocent girls are able not only to remain constant to their feelings but as well that only they know what true love actually means. They at least do know what they want, unlike the men, which by the way is very true as in Romeo’s case as well. The very fact that the girls know what they want has.


In the Tragedy of Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the relationships between parents and their offspring play a crucial role in the development of the plot. Interestingly, most of the parents do not seem to have good relationships with their children. Throughout Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, the generation gap causes much tension, which, by the end, leads to all-out violence.

The relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude seems to be the exception to the rule regarding parent-child connections. Although Hamlet shows clear distress about his mother’s marriage to Claudius, his relationship with her is positive. Even though his mother’s actions lead Hamlet to frequently criticize women in general, in obvious allusion to Gertrude’s marriage, and even though Claudius’ marriage to Gertrude is one of Hamlet’s most important reasons for wanting to kill his uncle, he clearly has no desire to kill his mother. Instead, he politely yet firmly asks her to “go not to mine uncle’s bed” (III. iv. 160). While this type of request is quite unusual for a son, by asking Gertrude this, Hamlet demonstrates concern for his mother’s well-being. In response, Gertrude seems to care deeply for Hamlet. As she lies dying at the end of the play Hamlet’s immediate reaction is to call for everyone to seek out the treachery. Hamlet is devastated by the death of his mother, showing his close relationship with her.

Hamlet’s relationship with his father, King Hamlet, also seems to be a fairly positive relationship. Little information is given in Hamlet about the bond between these two characters, but the amount of respect that Hamlet shows toward his deceased father indicates that their relationship was acceptable. Hamlet places his father on a high pedestal, comparing him to “Hyperion” while Hamlet feels far less significant. The ghost of King Hamlet seems to be using his son to serve his own purposes; however, such behavior may be expected from a recently murdered king who now suffers in purgatory and whose murderer now holds his title as sovereign. While Hamlet’s five-act delay in killing his uncle may be interpreted to mean that Hamlet doubts his father’s wisdom, Hamlet’s struggles with the moral ramifications of killing a human being more likely cause the delay. Hamlet’s seemingly constant references to Greek and Roman mythological characters while discussing King Hamlet suggest that the king was a good father to Hamlet. While talking to his mother, Hamlet refers to “Hyperion’s curls; the front of Jove himself; / An eye like Mars, to threaten and command; / A station like the herald Mercury / New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill” (III. iv. 57-60) in contrast to “a mildewed ear / Blasting his wholesome brother” (III. iv. 65-66) when Hamlet compares his father to Claudius. Though Hamlet’s perception of his father may have improved upon King Hamlet’s death, the two must have had a good relationship beforehand.

Polonius’ relationships with his children are far worse than Hamlet’s relationships with his biological parents. Polonius considers himself the boss over Ophelia while Ophelia considers herself obliged to obey Polonius’ commands out of intimidation. In the first act, Laertes warns Ophelia against becoming too attached to Hamlet. Upon hearing of this discussion, Polonius decides to reiterate Laertes’ stance, but in a much more belligerent fashion. He commands Ophelia, “Tender yourself more dearly, / Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, / Running it thus) you’ll tender me a fool” (I. iii. 107-109). With this argument, Polonius takes what might be a good piece of advice, and shows that the suggestion is truly in his own interest rather than in Ophelia’s. Polonius is more concerned about his own place in court than his own daughter’s well-being. Ophelia simply responds to his command, “I shall obey, my lord” (I. iii. 136). Polonius forces Ophelia to depend on him. His intention is to make himself appear to be a great father, but Ophelia’s dependency on Polonius is what eventually causes her to go mad and commit suicide after his death. Throughout the play, Polonius considers his opinion to be the only correct outlook. This perception of infallibility ruins Polonius’ relationship with Ophelia.

Polonius’ relationship with Laertes is even worse than his relationship with Ophelia. Polonius’ desire for domination over his son is revealed in the second act of Hamlet. In the beginning of this act, Polonius instructs Reynaldo to defame his son. His motive is unquestionably control, and Polonius is willing to sacrifice the image of his son for his own control. This parasitic attitude is not healthy in a relationship between a father and a son. When Polonius is killed, Laertes immediately returns to Denmark to avenge his death; however, Laertes’ bond with Polonius while Polonius lived was not close. Just as Polonius forced Ophelia to rely on him, he forced Laertes to depend on him as well. Throughout Hamlet, Polonius asserts his dominance over his son, leading to a one-way relationship.

While Polonius has awful relationships with his children, Hamlet’s relationship with Claudius is far worse. Put simply, Hamlet and his uncle/stepfather hate each other. In fact, by the end of the play, Claudius and Hamlet successfully kill each other. Hamlet dislikes his stepfather from the beginning. Hamlet disapproves of Claudius’ overhasty marriage to his mother after his father’s death, especially because he considers the marriage incestuous. Claudius considers Hamlet a threat and, therefore, attempts to eliminate him. First, Claudius sends a message to the king of England to have Hamlet killed. When that fails, Claudius uses Polonius’ death as a way to kill Hamlet. He feeds Laertes’ anger and suggests that Laertes “Requite [Hamlet] for your father” (IV. vii. 138). Claudius’ plan backfires, however. Although he successfully kills Hamlet, Hamlet also successfully kills him. In addition, Claudius accidentally kills Gertrude when she drinks the poisoned wine that was intended for Hamlet. When Hamlet learns that the sword that scratched and the wine that his mother drank were poisoned, he exclaims, “Then, venom, / to thy work” (V. ii. 327), and kills Claudius with the sword. The willingness and satisfaction with which Hamlet kills Claudius shows that, clearly, the relationship between them was far from satisfactory.

Throughout Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, parents and their children suffer from unhealthy relationships. Though Hamlet’s relationships with his parents are not awful, the other parent-child relationships in Hamlet are quite dismal. Polonius dominates his relationship with Ophelia. He also refuses to respect his son, Laertes. Hamlet and Claudius simply despise each other. This friction leads to pain for many of the characters. The dysfunctional families are essentially the cause of Hamlet’s tragic nature.


At the heart of King Lear lies the relationship between father and child. Central to this filial theme is the conflict between man’s law and nature’s law. Natural law is synonymous with the moral authority usually associated with divine justice. Those who adhere to the tenets of natural law are those characters in the text who act instinctively for the common good — Kent, Albany, Edgar, and Cordelia.

Eventually, Gloucester and Lear learn the importance of natural law when they recognize that they have violated these basic tenets, with both finally turning to nature to find answers for why their children have betrayed them. Their counterparts, Edmund, Goneril, Regan, and Cornwall, represent the evil that functions in violation of natural law. All four conspirators are without conscience and lack recognition of higher moral authority, since they never consider divine justice as they plot their evil. Their law is man-made, and it focuses on the individual, not the good of the community. Tragedy unfolds as two carefully interwoven and parallel stories explore the abandonment of natural order and the unnatural betrayal of parent and child.

In the primary plot, Lear betrays his youngest daughter and is betrayed by his two oldest daughters. In almost identical fashion, the subplot reveals another father, Gloucester, who betrays his older legitimate son and who is betrayed by his younger illegitimate son. In both cases, the natural filial relationship between father and children is destroyed through a lack of awareness, a renunciation of basic fairness and natural order, and hasty judgment based on emotions. By the play’s end, the abandonment of natural order leaves the stage littered with the dead bodies of fathers and their children.

In the opening act, Lear creates a love test to justify giving Cordelia a larger share of his kingdom. Although his kingdom should be divided equally, Lear clearly loves Cordelia more and wants to give her the largest, choice section of his wealth. In return, Lear expects excessive flattery and gushing confessions of love. But instead, Cordelia’s reply is tempered, honest, and reasonable — custom dictates that she share her love between her husband and her father.

Just as soon as Cordelia fails to meet her father’s expectations, Lear disinherits her. At Cordelia’s loss, Goneril and Regan are quick to take advantage. They may have genuinely loved their father at one time, but they now seem tired of having been passed over in favor of their younger sister. After Lear states his obvious preference for Cordelia, the older sisters feel free to seek their revenge, turning the family’s natural order on its ear. At the same time, Lear fails to see the strength and justice in natural law, and disinherits his youngest child, thus setting in motion the disaster that follows. Lear puts in place a competition between sisters that will carry them to their graves.

In a similar father-child relationship, the opening scene of King Lear positions Gloucester as a thoughtless parent. The audience’s introduction to this second father has him speaking of Edmund’s birth in a derogatory manner. Although Gloucester says that he loves both Edmund and Edgar equally, society does not regard the two as equal — and neither does Gloucester, whose love is limited to words and not actions of equality. According to nature’s law, Edmund is as much Gloucester’s son as Edgar is; but according to man’s law of primogeniture, Edmund is not recognized as Gloucester’s heir.

In one of the initial pieces of information offered about Edmund, Gloucester tells Kent that Edmund has been away seeking his fortune, but he has now returned. Under English law, Edmund has no fortune at home, nor any entitlement. Edmund’s return in search of family fortune provides the first hint that he will seize what English laws will not give him. Clearly, Edmund’s actions are a result of his father’s preference — both legal and filial — for Edgar, his older and legitimate son. This favoritism leads to Edmund’s plan to destroy his father in an attempt to gain legitimacy and Gloucester’s estate. Again, the natural order of family is ignored.

Gloucester rejects natural law and a parent’s love for his child when he is easily convinced that Edgar — the son he claims to love so much — has betrayed him. Gloucester also puts his faith in Edmund’s command of persuasive language, when he rejects the love his eldest son has always shown him. With this move, the earl demonstrates that he can be swayed by eloquence, a man-made construct for easy persuasion, which causes him to reject natural law and the bond between father and child.

Edmund both ignores and embraces natural law. By betraying his father to Cornwall and Regan, Edmund’s self-serving course of action abandons nature’s order and instead foreshadows the neo-Darwinist argument for survival of the strongest individual. His ability to survive and win is not based on competitive strategies or healthy family relationships; instead, Edmund will take what he desires by deceiving those who trust and love him.

Edmund’s greed favors natural law over man’s law because natural law doesn’t care that Edmund is illegitimate. He claims nature as his ally because he is a “natural” offspring, and because man’s law neglects to recognize his rights of inheritance. But, nature only serves Edmund as a convenient excuse for his actions. His actions against his brother and father are more a facet of greed than any reliance on natural law.

One might argue that Gloucester’s cavalier attitude toward Edmund’s conception mitigates Edmund’s actions. When combining this possibility with Edmund’s final scene, in which he tries to save Cordelia and Lear, Edmund clearly shows himself to be of different fabric than Goneril, Regan, and Cornwall. In many ways, Gloucester is responsible for what Edmund becomes. Edmund is as much Gloucester’s son as is Edgar. In embracing the man-made laws that reject Edmund’s legal rights, Gloucester is denying natural laws that would make Edmund and Edgar equal.

Gloucester also acts against nature in rejecting Edgar without sufficient proof of his wrongdoing; thus Gloucester shares responsibility for the actions that follow, just as Lear’s love test results in his rejection of Cordelia. Both men are easily fooled and consequently, they both reject natural law and their children. Both act without deliberation, with hasty responses that ultimately betray their descendants.

At the play’s conclusion, Goneril and Regan’s abandonment of natural order and their subscription to evil has finally destroyed them. The audience learns early in the final scene that Goneril has poisoned Regan and killed herself. Their deaths are a result of unnatural competition, both for power and for love. But Lear is the one who set in motion the need to establish strength through competition, when he pitted sister against sister in the love test.

The generational conflict between parent and child is an expected part of life. Shakespeare’s examination of natural order is central to our own lives, and that is one of the enduring qualities of King LearShakespeare writes his plays to teach a moral story, of behavior and love. The three plays, King Lear, Much Ado About nothing, and Macbeth, the parents are very stubborn and their views are very narrow toward their children. The children know that they are treated poorly but love their parents although they have many faults in trust and love. Each play ends with a loving relationship because thoughts about one another is cleared up and they live happily ever after.

King Lear, has many valuable points. Shakespeare emphasizes the importance of love between family members by showing how much harm disloyal or unloving family members can cause. King Lear cruelly abuses his most loving daughter, Cordelia, simply because she admits that her love for her father is limited: “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty/ According to my bond, no more nor less.” This truthful declaration by Cordelia leads to her disinheritance. However, despite this rejection, Cordelia continues to stand by her father’s side and defend him in his time of need against Regan and Goneril. Now that they have their land and power, these disloyal sisters won’t care for or even support their father. In fact, the two are now so greedy and disloyal that they wish to have Lear murdered. In effect, Lear, Goneril and Regan are very much alike: their failure to love family members causes great pain, first for themselves and then for others.

Lear treats Cordelia poorly because he does not realize that he has mistrusted his only true daughter. This mistrust comes from the fact that Lear believed Regan and Goneril when both professed their love for him. However, neither is honest. Toward the end of the play, Lear realizes that he has been very unfair to Cordelia, and that the other two sisters have misled him. Cordelia, however, remains true to Lear, as she respects the relationship between them although he does not.

Shakespeare expects family members to be true to one another and have a solid trust in each other. Lear doesn’t do what Shakespeare expects: he no longer loves Cordelia after she confesses she loves him only to the extent a daughter should. All of his love is for Regan and Goneril because both of them tell their father what he wants to hear: that they love him more than anyone in the world. Family members should not act greedily and unlovingly, and parents should never favor or trust one child more than another. Lear chooses Regan and Goneril and exiles Cordelia. Shakespeare does not want family members to act in this kind of unjust way; he wants all children treated equally, so they can have equal opportunity; he wants parents respected and cared for in their old age for all that they have done for their children in the years past.

Leonato, in Much Ado About Nothing, treats his daughter, Hero, as badly as Lear treats Cordelia. He abandons her in her moment of need, when her fiancee falsely accuses her of infidelity. The relationship between Hero and her father is a poor one, because Leonato disowns Hero until she is cleared of any wrong doing. Hero feigns being dead, as Juliet does, until she can be freed from blame. Her death gives people the time to learn the truth of the matter, about Don John’s and Borrachio’s false accusations. This is when Leonato finally takes his daughter’s side. Hero, by contrast, like Cordelia remains true to her disloyal father and continues to hope he will believe her.

The behavior and attitude of Leonato must be changed because Shakespeare does not believe in a conflict between a parent and a child. To have a meaningful and loving parent child relationship the parents must support the child, even when others have accused the child of wrong doing.

In this drama, Leonato should have had more confidence in Hero’s morality, Shakespeare tries to teach valuable lessons by showing what people should not do. Parents should not have a judgemental and critical attitude like Leonato; treating his daughter well only when she is perfect is not healthy. This is a completely unfair way to treat a family member beacuse Leonato should be more caring and considerate of his daughter’s dilemma. In addition Shakespeare thinks Leonato’s disbelief and accusations are not acceptable. He believes family members should stay by one another’s sides and not let rumors undermine their love and loyalty.

In the play Macbeth, a negative parent child ralationship can be seen between Duncan and Malcolm. Although Malcolm is the heir to the throne of Scotland, when his father is killed by Macbeth, he does not take over the kingdome, because he does not want to be killed by Macbeth also. This illustrates that the nagative relationship between Malcolm and his father takes place because he does not love his father enough to stay in Scotland to defend both his father’s death and his kingdome.

The father son relationship is poor, because unlike a healthy relationship there is a lack of communication between Duncan and Malcolm. Not only is commmunication a necessesity but so are trust and caring. Without these in a father son relationship, there is no love so therefore the relationship does not exist.

Although Malcolm at first doesnt care about defending the throne and leaves Scotland because of the poor relationship with his father, he later returns when Macbeth is dead to take over the throne. In addition Malcolm’s return can be paralleled to the other two plays because he forgives and forgets the poor relationship between he and his father, which allows him to be strong and fearlessly take over the throne.

In conclusion, in all three plays the children forgive their parents for their distrust, although each forgiveness was different all the relationships were strengthened as a result. Shakespeare illustrates that a conflict often can destroy a relationship, but when the conflict is resolved all is well if not better between the parent child relationship.


Throughout Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice the character of Othello becomes a victim of his own jealousy and of Iago’s betrayal. These become apparent throughout the play and lead to his demise.

The character of Othello becomes infatuated with a young, white, Venetian girl Desdemona and quickly elopes with her. Othello is then presented with the possibility that Desdemona is unfaithful through the scheming work of Iago. The betrayal by Iago presents Othello to question the loyalty of Desdemona alleged lover Cassio who happens to be his trusted lieutenant. This scheming by Iago to conceals his jealousy of Desdemona marrying Othello and allows him revenge against Othello for eloping with Desdemona. Iago knows he must gain the respect of Othello. “In good time, must his Lieutenant be”(I.i.32). Iago has the stage set to take advantage of Othello’s suspicion of Cassio. He then convinces Othello that her infidelity is true as he saw Cassio with Desdemona’s handkerchief. “By Heaven, that should be my handkerchief”(IV.i.147). This whole scene then plays in to Iago’s plan “And to see how he prizes the foolish woman your wife?” (IV.i.163).

The love for his wife is conveyed, as he can not bear to live knowing that his wife has become a whore. “Aye, let her rot, and perish, and be dammed tonight, for she shall not live”(IV.i.168). This statement demonstrates the success of Iago’s deception that he has convinced him enough that he will kill his wife because he truly loves her. The betrayal of Iago is now complete. The jealous and insane Othello sets out to set right the infidelity of his wife by killing her.

The trust of Iago convinced Othello to change into a mad and vengeful lover out for revenge. This, indeed, led to his downfall and also to every one involved in the scheming work of Iago. This evil work of Iago manipulated the characters in the play to act against any reason. And for this Othello and Desdemona paid with their lives. It is ironic, however, that sometimes your enemies can be the closest and dearest companions. And their betrayal can have dire repercussions

In the play Othello by Shakespeare there are numerous various male and female roles, that between husband and wife, mater and servant relationships as well as the relationship between men and women in the set society which is patriarchally based. The male/female relationships have a large part to play in influencing the final outcome of this tragedy. Notably the relationships between Brabantio and Desdemona, the relationship between Roderigo and Desdemona, the relationship between Cassio and Desdemona, the relationship between Iago and Emila and finally as well as ultimately the relationship between Desdemona and Othello. These four associations impact in both a small and large way to the ending of this play, the death of Desdemona, Emila and Othello.

One of the first relationships seen during the play Othello is that which runs between Desdemona and Brabantio of a father to his daughter. As was the attitude of the time Brabantio considered Desdemona as a procession and a prize rather then a person. This stemmed from the patriarchal society of the time. The way women are treated as possessions can clearly be seen in the way Roderigo and Iago refer to Desdemona in Act one – ‘Thieves, thieves! Look to your house, your daughter and your bags! Thieves, thieves!’ Act 1, Scene 1, 80-3. Brabantio loves his daughter but considerers her as a piece of property to shelter and own. From this attitude of possessing women Brabantio becomes utterly infuriated when he discovers that Desdemona has eloped with Othello and thus deceived him which was unheard of at the time. Brabantio’s possessive nature of Desdemona reveals itself clearly when he stands before the Duke, ‘She is abused, stolen from me and corrupted.’ Act 1, Scene 3, 60. Upon leaving the Dukes chambers Brabantio says to Othello – ‘If she can…

Often described as a tragedy of character, much of the critical commentary of Othello focuses on the main characters of the play—Othello, Iago, and Desdemona—and their relationships to one another. Other areas of scholarly interest include the role of race and racism in the play, as well as gender roles and relationships. One of Shakespeare’s most frequently performed plays, modern film and stage adaptations of Othello also reflect these critical concerns.

Scholars have not reached a consensus on Desdemona’s character. S. N. Garner (1976) finds that just as the other characters in the play see Desdemona as either pure and perfect or as Venice’s “cunning whore,” so do many modern critics. Garner finds, however, that Desdemona is much more complex than either of these views, and that an interpretation of the play’s meaning depends as much on an accurate understanding of her character as it does on understanding the characters of Iago and Othello. Shakespeare depicted Desdemona as neither pure nor corrupt, Garner maintains, but as a women possessing a full range of human emotions. Other critics focus on Othello’s character and on his relationship with Iago. Arthur M. Eastman (1972), for example, identifies a marked similarity between Othello and Iago in that they both approach the world as ironists. Eastman explains that as ironists, they assert their authority by addressing situations from a position of concealed power. It is this affinity between Othello and Iago, Eastman contends, that allows Iago to manipulate Othello successfully. Derek Cohen (see Further Reading) centers his study of Othello on the character’s suicide, tracing the political and psychological factors contributing to Othello’s mental state. The critic views Othello as a pawn of white domination and demonstrates the way in which he is used by the Venetian state to sustain its dominion over its black foes, and used by Shakespeare to portray the dangers of miscegenation.

Like Cohen, G. K. Hunter (1967) also investigates the role of race and racism in Othello. Hunter reviews the notions Elizabethans held about foreigners in general and blacks in particular, finding that there existed a widespread association of blacks with sin, wickedness, and the devil. According to the critic, Shakespeare did not present Othello as a stereotypical black character, and contends that it is the darkness of Iago’s soul that ruins Othello. James R. Aubrey (1993) also examines Elizabethan views regarding blacks, noting that blacks were often associated with monsters. Aubrey demonstrates that Othello’s character is fashioned in such a way as to exploit this association, and thereby heighten the response of early audiences to Othello’s character. Arthur L. Little, Jr. (1993) studies the way in which the play emphasizes a connection between Othello’s “otherness” and sexual subversiveness. The critic also examines the way in which the audience and the other characters in Othello react to Othello’s blackness in a metaphorical rather than a literal sense.

Othello’s treatment of Desdemona is at the center of many critical studies exploring gender roles and relationships in Othello. Carol Thomas Neely (1985) demonstrates the centrality of the marriage bed and the consummation of the marriage in the play. Neely finds that such a focus on the couple’s sexual relationship reveals that marital love is the play’s main theme and that the primary conflict is between men and women. Furthermore, Neely associates the fueling of this conflict with the fact that the men’s sense of identity and self-worth is dependent not only on their relationships with women, but on the bonds developed with other men, who honor one another’s reputation. By contrast, the critic contends, the women in the play are relatively indifferent to reputation, and in part free from the jealousy and competitiveness that impair the men. An analysis of the bonds between males also figures prominently in Ruth Vanita’s 1994 essay. Vanita examines the complicity of male society in the murders of Desdemona and Emilia. The men fail to intervene on behalf of the women, according to Vanita, because they believe that the husband/wife relationship is distinct from other types of human relationships. Valerie Wayne (1991) takes another approach to the topic of gender roles, maintaining that the play presents a range of ideologies concerning women and marriage, and that this reflects English Renaissance culture, where multiple discourses on women and marriage were also available. Wayne argues that the misogyny in Othello, for which Iago serves as the primary mouthpiece, represents just one of the prevailing views of the Renaissance.

Gender and race relations also play a significant role in modern stage and film productions of Othello. Sharon Friedman (1999) compares Othello with Desdemona, Paula Vogel’s revision of Shakespeare’s play, examining in particular the way in which Vogel dramatized the threat posed by female desire and questioned conventional categories associated with virginity and faithfulness. Judith Buchanan (2000) reviews a 1995 film version of Othello, directed by Oliver Parker, starring Laurence Fishburne as Othello and Kenneth Branagh as Iago. Buchanan investigates the ways in which the film constructs “otherness,” showing that Fishburne’s Othello is a man willing to announce his resistance to Venetian society, and hence, his otherness. Buchanan also studies the way the film manipulates the subjective gaze, and contends that the film encourages the voyeuristic viewing of Othello’s own self-observations. Another recent film adaptation of Othello, O (2001), is reviewed by Peter Travers (2001), who finds the film a flawed interpretation of Shakespeare’s play, but one worth seeing nevertheless. Specifically, Travers criticizes the film’s reliance on plot mechanics borrowed from Shakespeare that do not make sense given the film’s modern context.

 In William Shakespeare’s Othello, Brabantio is protective, racially prejudiced, and a heartbroken man. He represents the typical father who is disappointed when he realizes that “daddy’s little girl” is all grown up and ready to leave the nest.

Brabantio is a very protective father. He makes sure that his daughter Desdemona lives a sheltered life under his care. She is his only child so he treats her like a prized possession. He also made certain to keep her under a tight leash, especially with male callers. When Roderigo tries to court her, he disapproves, “The worser welcome!/ I have charged thee not to haunt my doors./ In honest plainness thou hast heard me say/ My daughter is not for thee” (1.1.93-95). Brabantio is in disbelief when Roderigo instead tells him of Desdemona’s elopement with Othello and says:

O heaven! How got she out? O treason of the blood!

Fathers from hence trust not your daughters’ minds by what you see them act. Is there not charms

By which the property of youth and maidhood May be abused? Have you not read, Roderigo, Of some such thing? (1.1.165 – 170)

Here, Brabantio is shocked by this information. He directs his statement toward Roderigo, but almost seems as if he were scolding himself for trusting his daughter too much. Brabantio was convinced that his daughter was obedient and followed his rules. He was almost certain that his careful upbringing would not lead to the very thing he tried so hard to prevent.

Brabantio is also racially prejudiced. He is upset when he discovers that Othello, the Moor, is the man that Desdemona has chosen. He feels that Othello is not worthy of his daughter’s love because he possesses darker skin and is of Arabian descent. The kind of man he feels his daughter should marry would be someone who is her equal, meaning a white man. He accuses Othello of kidnapping his daughter and insists that she has been fooled, “O thou foul thief, where hast thou stowed/ my daughter?/ Damned as thou art, thou hast enchanted her!” ( 1.3.61-62) Brabantio believes that black magic would be the only way that Othello would be able to win Desdemona’s heart, “That thou hast practiced on her with foul charms, / Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals/ That weaken motion” (1.3.72-74). He couldn’t understand why his daughter would choose such a man over her own father.

When Brabantio realizes that nothing he could do or say will prevent Desdemona from staying with the moor, he becomes heartbroken. He ungraciously accepts defeat:

God be with you. I have done.

Please it your Grace, on to the state affairs.

I had rather adopt a child than get it.

Come hither, Moor.

I here do give thee that with all my heart

Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart

I would keep from thee. For your sake, jewel,

I am glad at soul I have no other child,

For they escape would teach me tyranny,

To hang clogs on them. I have done, my lord. (1.3.187-196)

Here, Brabantio sadly gives his daughter to Othello. He tells Othello that he loves his daughter so much that by taking Desdemona, he is also taking a piece of his heart. Brabantio is willing to let her go because he sees that he can no longer make her happy. He is also glad that he has no other children because he doesn’t want to go through the pain of seeing them leave his side again. He’s afraid that if he had other daughters he would become a jail keeper and hold them captive to ensure that the past does not repeat itself.

For some parents, it is a blessed thing to love and nurture their children. Sometimes, a parent can get caught up in the whole process that they forget that their children will grow up and have to leave one day. Brabantio was not prepared for this day to come so soon. While he was busy trying to be the best father he could be, his little found true love and blossomed into a woman.

Desdemona is a young Venetian noblewoman, who falls in love with a general in the army who works for her father, a senator. As a child she finds herself infatuated with Othello, and the childhood lust grows into love. Their elopement begins a downward course for them both. In spite of her youth and inexperience, she’s strong enough to stand up to her father’s disapproval of her marriage, and is loyal to Othello until she dies. Whether it is her father Brabantio, or husband Othello, she is objectified. Desdemona is in the risky position of attempting to reconcile her true sexual identity with the sexual identities in which others attribute to her. Brabantio and Othello misinterpret Desdemona’s assertiveness and desire while simultaneously attempting to repress any signs of desire within her. In addition to Desdemona being a woman of appetites, the object of her affections is a moor. This choice of mate further strays from the role in which Venetian society would like to cast Desdemona. The location of Venice is essential to the text of sexuality and power because Venice was known for its sexual permissiveness. Desdemona’s body is considered her father’s possession until she elopes, then she is Othello’s. She defies Brabantio by marrying Othello, taking charge of her own destiny. Brabantio’s symbolic death of Desdemona foreshadows her literal death at the hands of Othello and conveys his sense of loss as he realizes that Desdemona’s body is her own domain, not his. Othello also attempts to control the sexuality of Desdemona and once again she is viewed as property.

Desdemona manages to constantly display her intellectual prowess whether it is addressing the Senate, debating Iago or pleading on behalf of Cassio, she is not afraid of a public forum and is constantly striving for her voice to be heard. Desdemona levels the playing field as she speaks for herself and defends her marital match. Her ability to address the Senate as an equal reinforces the power and danger of her role in Venetian society. Ironically and tragically, Desdemona’s desire to be heard only feeds into Iago’s web of deception. Even in the shadows of death Desdemona’s need to have a voice emerges as she sings the willow song to Othello. Othello strikes his wife and eventually kills her in an effort to control her. When he no longer desires the sound of her voice he strikes her. When he no longer believes in her fidelity he smothers her. Brabantio and Othello need to control Desdemona because their own moralities are depraved and they cannot control their own wayward thoughts. When Desdemona’s sexuality is deemed suspect by either her father or husband she must be punished with symbolic and literal death. Desdemona tears away the gender barriers of Venetian society posing a threat to male authority and unfortunately sealing her own fate.

Desdemona is an exceptional woman. Besides the beauty and charm for which she is revered, she possesses a marked degree of mental idealism and emotional purity. Her love of Othello appears as a mental decision rather than a vital infatuation. She fell in love with the idea of a bold, courageous, romantic adventurer and her heart fully consented.


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 his.Despite the lack of a strong paternal figure in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, two separate father-daughter relationships play an integral role in the central plot of the play. The strained relationship of Venetian moneylender Shylock and his daughter Jessica, as well as the nonexistent association between Portia and her deceased father Sutor.

The Puppet Master of Rome. There is one thing in the world that everyone has: a mother. Some people never knew their mothers, some have bad relationships with their mothers, and some love their mothers more than anything else. In William Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Caius Martius, or Coriolanus, has a very intense relationship with his mother, Volumnia. He loves, respects, fears, and is controlled by her. This is made very evident throughout the play. Everything she asks for is done promptly after a simple proclamation of her need for it. This includes anything from fetching a drink for her to calling off an attack on a city. Coriolanus has his mother’s voice in his ear throughout the play. Sometimes, it saves him, but it also gives him a lack of identity and ultimately causes his demise.

The first time we are introduced to Volumnia is in Act 1, Scene iii of the play. She is sitting and sewing with Virgilia, Coriolanus’ wife, and Valeria, Virgillia’s friend. At this point in the play, Coriolanus is in battle, fighting the Volsces in the city of Corioles. Virgilia worries for the safety of her husband and prays that he comes back unharmed. Volumnia responds to her and lets the audience see what kind of mother she really is. As Virgilia expresses her concern for her husband’s well being, Volumnia proceeds to tell her that she would rather have her son die in battle than come back uninjured. She makes a short speech about how his injuries and his involvement in battle enforce his manhood.

“When he was but tender-bodied and the only son of my womb, when youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way, when for a day of kings’ entreaties a mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding, I, considering how honor would become such a person – that it was no better than picturelike to hang by th’ wall, if renown made it not stir – was pleased to let him seek danger where he was like Mutuality and Patriarchy in the Renaissance Family and Shakespeare’s Macbeth.


Seasoned judge of social dynamics, William Shakespeare summons inspiration from domestic life to further substantiate a universal truth: “Blood is thicker than water”. Resorting to miscellaneous human typologies and familial ties, he fleshes out the whole gamut of emotions, virtues and depravities bound to bear on an individual conforming to entrenched social and gender norms. Accordingly, either through the words of a distressed king beguiled by evil daughters’ flattery (King Lear), the heinous crime committed by a son to revenge his father’s death (Hamlet) or the tears of a young maiden over her father’s banishment (As you like it), the reader witnesses the essence of man’s makeup: no undertaken action, articulated emotion or deviant behavior is accidental but it is closely related to its background, entourage and domestic problem.

In times when professed marital bliss, male dominance and political allegiances were the hallmarks of any society, it comes as no surprise that Shakespeare’s plays expatiate on the relationships between cognates. Love, hate, betrayal, jealousy, rebellion, prejudice, deceit, rivalry, friendship, commitment, anger, alienation- all flow from normal or strained family relationships. In As You Like It, the whole plot revolves around the relationships between three families: Duke Senior and his daughter Rosalind, Duke Frederic and his daughter Celia and the two de Bois brothers: Orlando and Oliver. Shakespeare juxtaposes two different examples of cognates’ bond to exhibit divergent perspectives on how to treat a member of your family. While Celia- the daughter of Duke Frederick-decides to give up her royal privileges and accompany her banished cousin, Rosalind, in the forest to lead a rather modest life, Oliver -the oldest son of Sir Rowland de Bois- begrudges his brother, Orlando, a gentleman’s education and does his utmost to belittle him. Siblings’ resentment manifests itself between Duke Frederic and Duke Senior as well, especially since the former usurps the latter’s throne and hence made him seek shelter in the Forest of Ardenne. manages to get even with his brother simply by exposing .

The father-daughter/ good brother-evil brother relationship is a recurrent theme in Shakespeare’s plays. In The Tempest Prospero, the former Duke of Milan, was forced to abdicate in favor of his usurping brother, Antonio. Endowed with a brilliant mind and a manipulative nature, Prospero In culture and society, the dynamics between members of a family often help to shape and mold an individual as an adult, for better, or for worse. Through this, we can either judge an individual for being the way they are and blame their upbringing and family, or try to understand by examining the individuals’ family relationships and why the individual has either succeeded or failed. In “The Merchant of Venice,” Shakespeare provides two examples of father-daughter relationships that serve on opposite ends of the spectrum, Portia and her father, and Jessica and Shylock.

In examining the relationships, the connection between Portia and her father is not exactly perfect, but it seems to be the more stable of the two in Shakespeare’s play. Since he has passed, he makes it in his will for Portia to marry someone that deserves her, as she is too beautiful, rich, and wise to be taken with someone not as well-suited. Through this comes the test of Portia’s love through the process of elimination of the inscriptions on the caskets. Portia’s character shows that although she is a free-spirit who can think for herself, she has a certain respect for her father and his wishes that is instilled within her.

Although Jessica could be described as an ultimate free spirit, her actions and attitude toward her father and his wishes are radically different from Portia. Shylock has provided Jessica with a lifestyle that could be deemed very comfortable, and although Shylock can provide for Jessica financially, he does not provide the emotional support that would make their relationship stronger. Shylock shows little love and affection towards his daughter, and as a result, she lies to Shylock, steals from him, and eventually runs away from Shylock. Conclusively, Shylock feels taken advantage of and betrayed, but with that there seems to be an overwhelming belief that he is equally, if not more upset that his ducats are missing as well.


By natural from bron to death we have to establish a number of relationship in life.every single people have a family,each relationship convey different minnings.only the relationship of a family for those we work hard,we alive.With the widespread success and use of the home computer, people are simply a mouse click away. The innovation of email and digital photographs has made it possible for families to stay in touch; however, is this really enough? While technology has enabled us to talk to people all over the world, in some ways it is hampering us from intimate contact, especially with our families.

While modern technology will never replace the warmth of a mother’s hug or the pat on the back from his father, keeping close is possible. When a family is built on love, respect and devotion, they will always find a way to be close – if not in body, then in spirit.


William shakespeare’s poetic and dramatic cureer has been divided in to four periods corresponding to the grouth and experience of his life  and mind. The play of this period had showed a repid growth and development in the playwright genies. The reflect a deeper knowledge of human life and human nature. The characterization and humour have become more penetrating. Thought had become more weighty. His dramatic power and his power of expansion are at their highest. His attention was however, occupied exclusively with the darker side of human experience. Each particular plays of William Shakespeare dramatic situations. His selection of themes, use of language, dramatic plot decoration, set of characters, use of story in the play has gives new innovation for the audience. The design of Shakespeare’s play like a mirror where audience can see their own. He boldly portraits family relationship in his few numbers of play. More real side of human nature and situation has comes out thought his intelligent, experience and real knowledge. Individually each play conveys a real story of human life in Shakespearian play. This magical playwright illustrates different family relationship in his play very mach successfully. So that people has remind him all days to go and will ermine all days to come.


  1. William Shakespeare     : The best Shakespeare’s plays (38 plays)
  2. Richard Gill                   : Mastering Shakespeare
  3. Terry Eagleton               : William Shakespeare
  4. G. B. Harrison               : Introducting Shakespeare
  5. Sultan and Khan            : A study guide to chaucer & Shakespeare

Family Relationships