||This thesis aims to discuss how exchange affects human relationships in Shakespeare’s plays. In view of Marshall Sahlins’ and David Graeber’s essays on human economics, this thesis suggests examining Pericles, Prince of Tyre and The Merchant of Venice with two patterns of exchange. Social exchange and commercial exchange differ in the executer’s purpose and expectation of the outcome. Exchange creates and shapes interpersonal interaction, and it implies morality and social norms as well. From this perspective, one sees that human relations are related to economic ideas. |
The first chapter discusses how social exchange is applied to create and maintain relationships in Pericles, Prince of Tyre. The protagonist, Pericles, practices social exchange in different scenes and achieves his goals which cannot be estimated or valued in monetary terms. His experiences show the crucial elements and spirits in social exchange. On the other hand, Marina’s experience exemplifies commercial exchange in the play. The second chapter explains that The Merchant of Venice involves both commercial exchange and social exchange as well. Adding discussion of social distance and comparisons in communities, this chapter demonstrates how exchange affects human relationship in a broader sense. The thesis concludes by suggesting that the two patterns of exchange form a part of social life, that everywhere shape and reshape people’s life.
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