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What does Shakespeare have to say about the role of women in 'The Taming Of The Shrew' and how does he present these ideas.

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Introduction

WHAT DOES SHAKESPEARE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN 'THE TAMING OF THE SHREW' AND HOW DOES HE PRESENT THESE IDEAS. Shakespeare's depiction of the role of women in The Taming of the Shrew, seems to seek to question the contemporary view of their position as, "I am your wife in obedience", (Induction 2, line 103) by showing that marriage can be a more evenly balanced pact. The Taming of the Shrew is complex as it is a play within a play and both are filled with deception. Shakespeare's ideas about the role of women can be viewed in a number of ways, for whilst he demonstrates that women have a less important role in society - they are seen to be there to serve men - he has made some of the female characters complex, indicating perhaps his own regard towards women, and his appreciation that they can be just as intelligent and quick-witted as men. There are five female characters in the play all of whom, to a greater or lesser degree, contribute to Shakespeare's portrayal of women in society. ...read more.

Middle

Perhaps this, along with the obvious inferred preference for her sister, both by her father and suitors, may go some way to explaining why she behaves the way she does. It is easy to empathise with the rejection she must feel, and understand how her anger is fuelled. For although Shakespeare has used dramatic technique and language to portray Katherina in a bad light, there is also indication that she is a witty woman of high intellect. "A pretty peat! It is best put finger in the eye, and she knew why." (Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 78-79). Here she openly stated that Bianca may be able to fool others, but she does not fool her. Katherina can see through Bianca's acting. By using two diverse characters, Shakespeare has demonstrated how although the two women understand their roles; one's actions are compliant, "Sir, to your pleasure humbly I subscribe" (Act 1, Scene 1, Line 81), and the others are rebellious. Katherina: "What, will you not suffer me? Nay, I now see She is your treasure, she must have a husband. I must dance barefoot on her wedding day And, for your love to her, lead apes in hell. ...read more.

Conclusion

But it's now Bianca who appears to be the shrew, and our expectations of the Widow are also reversed. These two women, who on the surface had both deemed to be the ideal wife; subservient, domesticated, and loving towards their husbands, refuse now to meet the demands of their husbands. Katherina on the other hand, is a changed woman, even lecturing Bianca and the Widow on their behaviour and attitudes towards their husbands. Her speech shocks everyone, and gives Petruchio more reason to be proud of that fact he has tamed her, and she's proved it to everyone. However, has Shakespeare used this device to emphasise a personal view that perhaps not only the best wife is a subservient one, but a happy one also. There is much deception in this play, and I think Shakespeare carries that through in Katherina's final speech, for although it seems to be entirely subservient perhaps having met her match she's finally happy to fall into the role prescribed for her. While Petruchio believes her change is down to his own taming it is possible that she has changed of her own free will, gaining a role that has finally given her the attention, respect and authority she always felt she deserved. Nikki Wilkinson 1 ...read more.

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