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“Women’s Roles Have Changed So Much Since Shakespheare Wrote ‘the Taming of the Shrew’ That It Is No Longer Dramatically Interesting To a Modern Audience.”

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Introduction

Women's roles have changed these past four hundred or so years - it's a fact. Women can now vote in an election; own their own land; marry whomever they wish (depending on religion); eat, drink and sleep when they wish; go out when they wish; they can be educated in the same subjects as boys; they can wear what they like, and even have sex with who they like (again - depending on religion). In Elizabethan times, when Shakespeare put pen to paper to write The Taming of the Shrew, women were forbidden to do most, if not all these things. From birth, they didn't have a 'father' so much, but an 'owner', and when it was time for the 'father' to marry off his daughter, she then became the 'property' of the husband. The woman forfeited all dowries unto her husband, and she would never have been allowed to own anything. Although we in modern society like to imagine equality in life, there is always the hidden truth. There are many critics who say that life is not equal amongst the sexes, but more of an inequality now - against the men. There is the ever-so repeated story of the males being deprived of their rights when, for example women seem to get priority in court during divorce cases when it comes to custody. Although granted the majority of child killers and paedophiles are male, this does not mean that all men are guilty. A more recent example of this is with Millie (Amanda) Dowler' s father, who was accused of her murder almost immediately after the discovery of her body. ...read more.

Middle

In the RSC production, Kate actually seemed to be happy to get married, and at times, almost seemed as though she was in love. I think peer pressure was also to blame for her changing behaviour throughout the play. I think, that Kate has come across this way, because Petruchio seems much nicer, and more sensitive. Kate's relationship, especially with Bianca, also seems more 'real'. I get this impression because of the sticking out of tongues behind the father's back, the mocking repetition they often make of each other, and so on. This more 'realistic' relationship allows the audience to empathise more with Kate when she is more upset, because the audience realise how much Kate has to go through at home, and when walking down the street, for example. I also remember having more sympathy for her during the wedding; even through it was only shown on the outside. Kate's last speech also had more meaning, I think, in the RSC version. KATHARINA Fie, Fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow, And dart not scornful glances from those eyes, To wound thy lord, thy king thy governor: It blots thy beauty as frost do bite die meads, Confounds thy fame at whirlwinds shake fair buds, And in no sense is meet or amiable. A woman moved is like a fountain troubled, Muddy, ill seeming, thick, bereft of beauty, And while it is not so, none so dry or thirsty Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it. Thy husband is thy lord thy life, thy keeper, Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee, And for thy maintenance commits his body To painful labour, both by sea and land; To watch the night in storms, ...read more.

Conclusion

Brown of the Mail on Sunday, when she writes that the RSC Taming of the Shrew was an "emotionally intelligent reappraisal", and one that "has made sense of this most problematic of plays". I agree whole heartedly, because the RSC production, to me, was a more emotionally gripping version. I refer back to the first kiss we see between Petruchio and Kate, when the silence around them made it incredibly romantic. It seemed like all the focus was meant to be on them. This slight 'twist' on Zefirelli's version, sealed my preference in the modern remake. I personally do think that the play us still dramatically interesting even after al these years and even though women's position in society has changed so much. I think this also, because if there is 'no life' in the play, then how come there have been some sequels, and alternative interpretations written? Some of these include Kiss Me Kate, the Cole Porter musical, and The Tamer Tamed, a sequel to The Taming of the Shrew written by John Fletcher. Most recently, the rather more juvenile approach was successfully attempted in Ten Things I Hate About You, the Hollywood box-office hit. In my opinion, these adaptations and alternative interpretations would not have been made if the initial play is now so dramatically uninteresting. These alternative interpretations and adaptations also help to quash the critics' complaints of the play, and let the spirit of the story live on. The RSC adaptation's visibly charming approach to the now sensitive subject of 'wife-taming' helped me to easily quash Ms. Clapp's views of the play, and instead agree with Anne Thompson in saying: "It is the world that offends, not Shakespeare" = 1 = David Birley ...read more.

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