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Focusing on act 5 scene 2 of

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Shakespeare coursework assignment - The Taming of the Shrew Focusing on act 5 scene 2 of "the taming of the shrew", evaluate the contribution Shakespeare makes to the contemporary debate about the place of women in society:- At the time this play was written there was a huge debate ongoing about the place of women in society. I am aiming to evaluate Shakespeare's contribution to this debate. He raises a very controversial issue. In the induction he sets out clearly what the play is about, in the lord's speech we are told exactly how women should behave, this may be Shakespeare's opinion but this view is taken by many men in Shakespeare's day and age. This would make the play popular with some people and extremely unpopular with others, especially women. In act 5 scene 2 we see what Shakespeare is really saying about the role of women in society. In Katherina's speech she talks about the relationship between men and women, different actors and directors can interpret this in different ways, Katherina can either be playfully submissive, believing that what she says as humorously ironic knowing that she will in fact later be the one in charge. Or simply completely submissive knowing that Petruchio will always be the one in charge. ...read more.


This also tells us that the taming may be more important that the shrew. The exchanges of words between Katherina and petruchio are much richer and more diverse than those between Bianca and Lucentio. The conversations between Bianca and Lucentio are typical of Elizabethan love poetry. The contemporary audience would have reacted in a fairly similar way to a modern audience. The position of the woman was a very controversial subject in the late 16th early 17th centuries. It depends on how the play is interpreted by the director. If in the play Katherina ends up being completely suppressed by petruchio becoming nothing but a slave completely obedient to him many of the women who saw this play would have been appalled with the way Katherina's real character had been destroyed. But if the play is interpreted in the way that Katherina and petruchio come together as a team in order to get money and also to be happy and have fun, the audience would not see this interpretation as being misogynistic. The modern audience would have reacted in similar ways, if there was any element of misogyny portrayed in the play the majority of the audience would dislike it as misogyny nowadays extremely politically incorrect. If anything more objections would be made to the play by a modern audience as we now have more freedom of speech than we did hundreds of years ago. ...read more.


But you would get a different opinion if you saw different interpretations if the play. The interpretation of this play when performing it is very significant. This is the only time Shakespeare has used an induction. This is used to introduce to the audience what the play is about. He also does this in what would be a familiar setting to his audience (Warwickshire countryside). The play then moves on to Italy, a place much less familiar to his audience, the richer more intelligent people of his audience would understand much more about Italy. Maybe without this induction many people would not fully comprehend what point Shakespeare intended to put across. Marriage was very much a business arrangement; it was just a way for men to make money. Katherina may have gone along with Petruchio just to make money out of her father. It seemed that men had the most power, and the women had minimal power if any. Our modern day culture seems very different. We have now had the most powerful person in the world at the time (Queen of England) be a woman. We now have women in high positions of power. Shakespeare has made a valid contribution to the debate on the position of women. He has helped the debate along by asking questions, we can now see that the debate has followed on to a certain measure of equality between men and women. Ed Weaver ...read more.

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