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Reaction Paper One

Social Exchange Theory (SET): Showtime Original: The Borgias (2013)

Arranged marriages, as depicted in Showtime’s original series "The Borgias," is motivated by political lust rather than romantic enchantment. I believe this series effectively illustrates social exchange theory as Rodrigo Borgia, a pragmatic and charismatic Cardinal, uses his offspring as political pawns to secure and protect power, prestige, wealth and his ultimate desire, the Roman papacy. Lucrezia Borgia, the family’s most prized possession, can be characterized as a femme fatale, a woman who uses her physical attraction to seduce and ensnare men.  Men from all walks of life were captivated by the angelic glory Lucrezia emanated. Her father, being the opportunist, uses his daughter’s radiance as a ruse to achieve his ambitions.  Rodrigo bartered his daughter, like livestock, to three prominent men in the region of Italy - Lord Giovanni Sforza, Duke of Bisceglie Alonso D'Aragon and Alfonso D'Este Duke of Ferrara - all of the men were strategically matched to Lucrezia by Rodrigo as a means to solidify money, power and respect.

Rodrigo Borgia used his Lucrezia’s beauty to lure man from the region to the bosom of his daughter as a means to achieve his personal agenda. The reward in this case would be granted to the husbands of Lucrezia. In their opinion, they would possess one of the most sought after hallmarks of the Roman Kingdom – Lucrezia - they also would have a direct line to the Vatican; these are the elements of a relationship that have positive value (West & Turner, 2010, p. 165).Theorist Thibaut and Kelley suggest that the time and effort one has to put into maintaining a relationship or the negatives one has to put up with in their partner are elements of cost (West & Turner, 2010, p. 165). The cost would be paid using Lucrezia Borgia; she would have to face the public ridicule inflicted by illegitimate marriage annulments, and the subjection to her father’s...