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Explore the Ways in Which Shakespeare Presents Power in the Play

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Introduction

Explore the Ways in Which Shakespeare Presents Power in the Play Power is defined as 'the ability to act or control,' and it is evident from the title that a 'shrew' is going to be tamed, i.e. it will be controlled. The shrew turns out to be a woman called 'Katherina.' I think he reason Shakespeare has a women as the shrew is to prove that controlling women didn't get very far. It was a male dominated world. Whilst reading the play we come to learn that the shrew is a lady called Katherina, it is her rebellious and wild ways that get her this nickname. Katherina has more power than, I think, she realises. It is Katherina who is the eldest daughter of Baptista and so she has a significant amount of power over her younger sister Bianca. In act 2 scene 1, Katherina argues with Bianca and uses physical power to hit Bianca. Before this incident, Katherina is unintentionally given the power to determine when Bianca marries. Their father has said Bianca will not be married until he has "a husband for the elder." ...read more.

Middle

Baptista uses his power to seal the marriage of Petruchio and Katherina by simply declaring "'tis a match," in act 2 on line 311. Although he allows his daughter to talk to her suitor before the marriage is settled, he doesn't really take into account what she feels and wants, instead he listens to Petruchio's view on the situation and makes his decision from that. Immediately after this marriage is set up and declared, Baptista is presented with two possible husbands for Bianca. They battle it out between them with Baptista making the final decision after both men have told of what they own, from how much land they have to how many "fat oxen" they have. Naturally, as a father he goes for the man who can offer his daughter the most. In this case the daughter doesn't even get a chance to talk to her chosen husband and this makes clear the power and control a father had in those times over his daughter's life. As a wealthy citizen of Padua, Baptista also has power over the servants he has working for his household. ...read more.

Conclusion

In act 2 scene 1, Tranio and Gremio debate amongst themselves and end up exchanging a few insults before Baptista intervenes, he states that whoever offers the most gets the girl. This starts the two potential suitors off on a personal ego trip about what they own, how much of it they own and how much of what they own will go to Bianca if they die before her. As the wealthy citizen, Baptista can afford to finance his daughters until he finds a suitable match for them. This works to his advantage because he can afford to keep Bianca until her elder sister, the "shrew" Katherina is made a sensible offer for marriage which is to the standards of Baptista. The purpose of this play was for Shakespeare to prove hat domineering women didn't make it in the 16th century. Katherina's soliloquy in act 5 scene to is about a women's role and in some parts it seems like Shakespeare is mocking this view, especially when Katherina calls men "king." Power in this play was presented in a number of ways. A lot of the power presented in the play started with a female but ended up with a male. This shows how male dominated the times of Shakespeare were. Rajveer Khera 9043 Moseley Park School 20906 ...read more.

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