The Tower Essay

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Brent has a Ph.D. in American Culture, specializing in film studies, from the University of Michigan. She is a freelance writer and teaches courses in the history of American cinema. In the following essay, Brent discusses the father-son relationship in von Hofmannsthal's play.

The Tower explores the theme of fathers and sons in terms of Sigismund's relationship to two central father figures: King Basilius, his biological father, and Julian, his lifelong jailer and caretaker.

The relationship of King Basilius to his only son, the Prince Sigismund, fluctuates dramatically several times throughout the play. The king is torn between his fear of being usurped by his son, as stated in a prophesy and the natural love of a father for his offspring. Throughout the play, the king alternates between these two impulses. The desire to maintain his sovereign power, however, always wins out over his paternal affections for...

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This section contains 2,190 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Tower Study Guide
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