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Fiddler on the Roof

Tevye is a lowly Jewish milkman living in a town called Anatevka. He is a husband to his wife of 25 years named Golde and a father to his five daughters. The setting being Russia during the turn of the century, the protagonist faces the struggles of societal changes affecting the old Judaism traditions. The story depicted the roles of a husband, a wife, a son, and a daughter in Jewish families during the year 1905, where there is a transition from preserving the old customs of the Jews and accepting changes in a world facing revolution.

It is a story that tells the life of the Jews and their position in a country that alienates their religion and persecutes their people. In a place dominated by Orthodox Christians, they eventually faced the consequence of their beliefs. The whole town was evicted by the Czar, as imposed by his orders on the concerned authorities, in a process they labeled a “demonstration. ” Traditions are important for a Jew. In Tevye’s words, “Because of our traditions, everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do. ” But what if these traditions would have to adapt to a world that is changing?

His conflict was to the extent that he can bend his beliefs in order to accommodate the world that is becoming strange. It is difficult to have the very foundations of everything that you believe you are crumble down because of radical views in the outside world. The story mainly gave focus on the three eldest daughters, as they are the ones in the age suitable for marriage. Tevye’s idea of a husband for his daughters is a man who is learned and intelligent, on the other hand, Golde’s preference is a man of wealth and affluence.

A rich widower by the name of Lazar Wolfe had his eyes on Tzeitel and asked for her hand in marriage. Through the matchmaker Yente, a meeting was arranged between Tevye and Lazar. A matchmaker is very important as she is the one who arranges marriages for Jewish maidens. Without any prior acquaintance, most of the girls are promised to their intended and are forced into a loveless marriage. Even Tevye and Golde were subjected to this practice. They met each other on their wedding day, fortunately they learned to love one another through the years.

Tzeitel, being secretly engaged to her childhood love interest, Author’s Name 2 has refused to subject herself into marrying a man old enough to become her father. Tzeitel wanted to marry Motel, the town’s poor and simple tailor. Together, they pleaded to Tevye that they be wed even without the matchmaker. Tevye chose to bend to his daughter’s wishes. This was a major issue in the town as a girl then was not given the right to decide for herself. Women were not permitted to marry for the reason that every marriage should transpire, love.

Fortunately for them, they ended under a canopy of union. Hodel, Teveye’s second daughter, was a feisty girl with a free spirited mind. Relative to her sisters, she is the most intelligent and smart one. When a man named Perchik from Kiev came to their town, he introduced different views and ideologies into a town still living in a distant past and smothered in the limits of their traditions. When it was time for him to leave, he proposed marriage to Hodel, which she heartily accepted.

When they informed Tevye of the news, he was adamant in refusing to approve. But Hodel and Perchik replied that they need not his permission, they are only asking for his blessing. This is something unheard of at the time. But Tevye realized that their traditions were new once too and decided to finally give the two both his blessing and his permission for them to marry. However, when his third daughter asked that he accept her relationship with a Russian boy named Fyedka, Tevye could not bend that far.

To him, he can never accept that his daughter married someone who is not of Jewish descent. He disowned her and refused to talk to his daughter until the end. There was a definite line between the Russians and the Jews as neither welcomed one another. It was a time that is too distant from today, when women were matched to marry strangers agreed upon by her parents. It was an era when racial and religious barriers have not been transcended. There was enmity among groups of peoples, and love did not seem to suffice.

The movie was a vivid depiction of the Jewish life amidst a society dominated by another race. They have been successful in preserving their beliefs despite the discrimination that they have experienced through the ages. There was a clear segregation amongst people. It took generations until this wall has been taken down. But the important thing is, the world is moving forward towards a future of tolerance and awareness. It is comforting that prejudice is now being condemned and racial assimilation is now encouraged among different people.

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