The Holy Father identified another temptation that sets up obstacles to those who, like the prodigal son
, come to the father's house for mercy and bread: "the temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve.
I begin by examining thoroughly the similarities in plot and structure between the parable of the prodigal son and The Merchant of Venice in order to establish the parable as an important component in Shakespeare's conception of the play and to provide sufficient background for the analysis that follows.
4) Bassanio has "disabled" his "estate," much as has the prodigal son, by living outside his means.
Although sixteenth-century uses of the term are not always explicit references to the parable, the term and parable do bear close association through the tradition of referring to the parable in Luke 15 as "The Parable of the Prodigal Son.
While Bassanio's self-identification with the prodigal son in act one, scene one connects him with that character, it also serves as a cue to Antonio, and the viewer, that Antonio should adopt a pattern from the parable as well.
THE parallels explored above show that the main plot of The Merchant of Venice echoes the plot of the parable of the prodigal son.
In response to this complaint, Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and, finally, that of the prodigal son.
And for both Augustine and Jerome, the prodigal son stands for gentiles (Wailes 239).
In An Apology for Poetry, the century's most important piece of literary criticism, Sir Philip Sidney expresses his idea of Jesus' intent in telling the parable of the prodigal son.
The prominence of this idea is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in the dramatic fashion of prodigal son drama--a tradition which reached its zenith in the sixteenth century.
But those characters in prodigal son drama who follow the pattern of the prodigal learn virtue by following that pattern, by treading his path from prodigality to reconciliation and restoration.
If so, does the play fit in with the tradition of prodigal son drama?