“Ordinary father-daughter love had a charge to it that generally was both permitted and indulged. There was just something so beautiful about the big father complementing the tiny girl. Bigness and tininess together at last—yet the bigness would never hurt the tininess! It respected it. In a world in which big always crushes tiny, you wanted to cry at the beauty of big being kind of and worshipful of and being humbled by tiny. You couldn’t help but think of your own father as you saw your little girl with hers.’ – Meg Wolitzer. This famous quote is certainly not the case for Harper Lee’s Bob Ewell and Shakespeare’s Shylock, but rather the opposite. Harper Lee’s novel and Shakespeare’s play both display very complicated father/daughter relationships. In both the novel To Kill A Mockingbird and the play The Merchant Of Venice, secondary characters such as Bob Ewell and Shylock both had serious issues with their daughters. Also, Bob Ewell, handled the situation in a rather reckless manner compared to Shylock who took a more passive aggressive path.
Firstly, Shylock and Bob Ewell both had very similar issues with their daughters. For example, Shylock’s daughter running away with her father’s money, accompanied by a Christian, whom he forbid his daughter to marry. Adding on, Bob Ewell beating his daughter for making a move on Tom Robinson a black male, which Bob didn’t like simply because of his race. To emphasize, both fathers prejudged the young men based on their religion or race. “She reached up an‘ kissed me ’side of th‘ face. She says she never kissed a grown man before an’ she might as well kiss a nigger. She says what her papa do to her don’t count. She says, ‘Kiss me back, nigger.’ (Lee 197) This quote from Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, comes from the trial part of the story, where Bob was proven guilty for the beating of his daughter. In this short abstract from Harper Lees: To Kill A Mockingbird, it demonstrates and shows that Bob Ewell’s daughter never got raped by Tom Robinson but she was the one who initiated contact. According to Tom Robinson, once her father saw them, he came storming in out of anger, and beat his daughter up afterwards. It also shows that Bob Ewell has raped his daughter, according to Tom Robinson, she claimed “what her papa do to her don’t count” when she says she’s never kissed a grown man before. That is to say, this proves that Bob Ewell had beaten and raped his daughter. “My daughter! O my ducats! O my Christian Ducats! Justice! the law! my ducats, and my daughter! And jewels, two stones, two rich and precious stones, Stolen by my daughter! Justice! find the girl! She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats!” (Shakespeare.II. VIII.) This line comes from Shakespeare’s play, where Shylock was heard screaming, revealing the problems with his daughter Jessica. “Alack, what heinous sin is it in me To be ashamed to be my father’s child! But though I am a daughter to his blood, I am not to his manners. O Lorenzo, If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife, Become a Christian and thy loving wife”.(A II. s iii) In this abstract from Shakespeare’s play: The Merchant Of Venice, we can see how Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, feels about her dad and their relationship. She follows through with her plan to betray her dad and run away with his money alongside the Christian man she plans to marry: Lorenzo. This demonstrates very well the similar problems between the two fathers in both stories. Though, In Shylock’s case, his daughter not only betrays him by robbing him of his money, but betrays her and her father’s religious values as well.
Secondly, although both fathers had similar problems and causes for those problems, they handled them in very different ways. In Bob Ewell’s case, he had a very aggressive approach compared to Shylock who was rather very passive aggressive. Bob Ewell after having seen his daughter with Tom Robinson, went and beat her up. He also had raped her according to what Tom Robinson’s testimony. “She reached up an‘ kissed me ’side of th‘ face. She says she never kissed a grown man before an’ she might as well kiss a nigger. She says what her papa do to her don’t count. She says, ‘Kiss me back, nigger.’ (Lee 197) This quote from the novel proofs how Bob Ewell sexually assaulted/assaults his daughter. Together with “Would you write your name for us? Clearly now, so the jury can see you do it”(Lee 179). Also proving that all the evidence points towards Bob Ewell for the beating and rape of his daughter. Important to realize, that he was very aggressive and not very smart in the act. After the trial, Bob Ewell, out of rage towards Atticus, who ruined his plans and provided evidence to show that he was a liar and a madman, whom only got away with the crime for the simple fact of racial purposes and issues, decided to go after Atticus’s children. He followed them home and was planning on hurting them. Luckily, the children got away, but Bob Ewell had run out of luck. He was killed by Boo Radley, the neighbor of the Finch’s family. As to realize that, because of Bob Ewells
foolish, poorly calculated measures and the way he went about the problems with his daughter, he had it all coming. However, in Shylocks case, after his daughter ran away with a christian man and her father’s money, Shylock went around screaming like a mad man:“My daughter! O my ducats! O my Christian Ducats! Justice! the law! my ducats, and my daughter! And jewels, two stones, two rich and precious stones, Stolen by my daughter! Justice! find the girl! She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats!” (Shakespeare.II. VIII.) Despite being very angry and sad, Shylock did not inflict any sort of physical damage to his daughter. Instead, he disowned her and from there, there was no coming back to a point where their relationship would ever be healthy again. Unlike Bob, Shylock was smarter and made overall better decisions when it came to his daughter and the way he handled the situation. He did not harm her or do anything illegal, he decided to let it go, but he wished justice upon her and had a more “mental” approach to the situation. As we can see, Although similar problems, very different outcomes, simply because of the different values and character the two fathers shared.
To sum up, the novel and the play both displayed a very interesting and similar father and daughter relationship. In the novel To kill a mockingbird and the play by Shakespeare:The merchant of Venice, both Dad’s in both stories shared the same problems regarding their daughters, but had a lot of differences regarding the way they went on about them. One of those different decisions end up being fatal in Bob’s case.