This essay is a comparison between Jephthah (Judges 11:30-39) and Polonius and how they used their virgin daughters as political pawns.

Essay by skiddlesUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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When comparing the actions of Jephthah and Polonius, it is apparent that both fathers used obedient daughters to further their positions without regards to the needs, wants or safety of the daughters they supposedly loved. In making vows or promises, they allowed their determination to succeed for political gain to blur their judgment. In the end, the decision that each made would end up hurting their virgin daughters in a way that would bring on death or devastation for each.

Jephthah was one of the Judges of Israel who promised God that if he won a battle against the Ammonites, he would sacrifice the first thing to greet him on his return from battle. Upon his return to Mizpeh, the first to greet him was his only daughter (Judges 11:30-40). There is much discussion concerning this story of the bible and whether Jephthah did ritually sacrifice his daughter to God.

In his book, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason Archer believes Jephthah's daughter would be dedicated to God as an unmarried virgin all her life. She tells her father, "let me alone two months, that I many go up and down upon the mountains, and 'bewail my virginity' (Judges 11:37). After the two months were up, she returned to her father "who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man" (Judges 11:39). The fact that she was an only child is significant in her wailing because her parent's bloodline would be totally extinct.

Polonius, a councilor to the King, addresses Claudius and Getrude about the strange behavior of Hamlet. In an attempt to explain his theory that the reason of Hamlet's "illness" is the lost love of Ophelia. He attempts to gain their approval when he asks them, "Hath there been...