Two Noble Kinsmen

Essay by MajorAveatorUniversity, Master'sA+, February 2004

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Two Noble Kinsmen

Why do you think Shakespeare has all the other characters in the play treat the jailer's daughter the way they do?

How is the jailer's daughter commodified by the jailer?

What is the reason the jailer's daughter goes mad?

In the play the Jailer's daughter is treated as an object to trade. Shakespeare may be using this extreme example to get men to stop thinking of women as an object to own and trade as one pleases.

In the play Shakespeare has all the characters around the jailer's daughter treat her as an object, someone to control, something to posses, someone to provide service. The people in contact with the jailer's daughter are doing everything that is not honorable or noble in order to use her or trade her like a piece of property. In Act 2 Scene 1 the jailer and the wooer are going over the marriage arrangements.

Jailer, "What I have...I will assure upon my daughter in what I have promised."

Wooer, "I will estate your daughter in what I have promised." (II ii 9-11)

The conversation sounds more like a horse trade than the betrothal of a loved daughter. The men have made promises to each other. They are making a trade based on what works well for them, a business deal. It is evident that they have not asked her about the wedding arrangements.

Jailer, "But have you a full promise of her?"

"When that shall be seen, I shall tender my consent."

Wooer, "I have, Sir." (II ii 14-16)

Not only have they not included her but, it seems that the wooer is not telling the truth. The father shows his reservations about her having given her consent when he says, "When that shall be seen...". On the...