Most fathers would be proud of a son that became a priest, however, Hans thought that Martin didn’t live up to his potential and could have been a lawyer or something with more prestige. This seems to be a direct contradiction of what most parents wanted for their children during that time. In Act II, Scene II, Martin is talking with Staupitz about his bellyache, when he says that his father never said anything about faith. While that quote stuck out to me, the next quote solidified his father’s unhappiness with his decision to become a priest:
“My father faced with an unfamiliar notion is like a cow staring at a new barn door. Like those who look at the cross and see nothing.”
For Martin, this could be possibly the biggest insult he could have thrown at anyone, let alone his father. As a priest, his faith is clearly very important to him. He struggles with the fact that his father doesn’t see faith in the same light that he does. Later in Act II, Martin is being reprimanded for speaking out against indulgences and flat out says that his father does not approve of his vocation and is not really proud of him.
These two things signal to me that because of his relationship with his father, Martin struggles with authority, more specifically paternal figures. In the Church, the pope is the greatest paternal figure you can have. Martin, who is speaking out against indulgences, is not making a lot of friends in the higher church and that includes the pope and the other priests that are in charge of overseeing the clergy.
It doesn’t matter who the paternal figure is; As long as they fall into that category, Martin will clash with them. In a way, I think Martin resents being called the word “father” because of this tense relationship that he had with his own dad. It doesn’t matter if people are using it to refer to him as a man of God, but hates that word.
Father/son relationships might have their ups and downs, but in this case: it’s just down.