Father/Daughter Relationships in the Works of Shakespeare

Explore how the Bard of Avon presented this relationship.

Shakespeare’s fathers and daughters

Davies, Oliver Ford. Bloomsbury, 2017
213p bibl index, 9781474290135 $88.00, 9781350038462 $26.95, 9781474290142

shakespeare fathers and daughters

In Shakespeare’s Fathers and Daughters, Davies uses his experience as a Shakespearean actor to examine the relationships between fathers (and “father surrogates”) and daughters throughout Shakespeare’s works. Included are discussions of performance history and sources, character analysis, close readings, and references to recent and contemporary performances. The first four chapters—“Early Plays,” “Comedies,” “Tragedies and Tragicomedies,” and “Late Plays”— move through the plays with father/daughter relationships. The final three chapters—“Shakespeare and His Daughters,” “Fathers and Daughters in Contemporary Society,” and “Fathers and Daughters in Drama 1585–1620”—provide context for understanding Shakespeare’s treatment of these relationships. In addition to the discussion of the plays, Davies discusses the characters of Capulet, Leonato, Polonius, and Lear in sections tagged “An Actor’s Perpsective.” In these, he shares his personal experiences with playing the father’s role, offering insight into the process of preparing to perform Shakespeare. He includes excerpts from his exchanges with fellow actors about their characters—among those actors Mariah Gale, who played Ophelia to Davies’s Polonius in the 2008 Royal Shakespeare Company production. Written in clear and engaging prose, this book will be of particular interest to those studying drama and performance studies.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.
Reviewer: K. K. Smith, University of South Carolina, Aiken
Subject: Humanities – Performing Arts – Theater & Dance
Choice Issue: Jan 2018