Familial relationships have been a frequent topic throughout the history of German literature. The father-daughter relationship is an important example. 'Domination, dependence, denial and despair' combines an analysis of sociological, historical and psychological aspects of this relationship and an examination of four eighteenth-century German plays with extraordinarily close readings of the nineteenth-century dramas. The work shows how the fathers attempt to dominate their daughters and force societal norms on them. The daughters' reactions range from dependence to denial, ending their individuation process in despair.