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The Construction of Femininity In Taming of The Shrew

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Introduction

The Construction of Femininity In Taming of The Shrew In Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare tells the story of two sisters with conflicting personalities representing constructions of femininity. I will be looking at the different constructions of femininity throughout the play and the different ways a female can be constructed through illusion. At the start of the play, a tinker called Sly has a trick played upon him. The trick is a trick of illusion, making him believe he is a lord. He is told he has a mock wife. However, The fact that his 'wife' is the ultimate deception being a boy. Shakespeare constructs the text so that you can guess that it is a boy dressed as a girl from the comments he makes about the suggestive remarks that Sly makes to Page. Sly's wife is illusory as is our communes of the two women. This is also a hint of what they might be seeing in the play that follows, is also in illusory. The play could be seen as Shakespeare discussing what really constitutes femininity and what is illusory. Katherine and Bianca in the main play eventually appear to be deceptive as well as the "Wife" Sly story. The story constructs the appearances of both women through the men's words, giving you a idea of how both women are seen through men's eyes. ...read more.

Middle

His language is suggestive and he knows the reactions of the people towards her. He wants to see if she will fall for him and if he can work her out. Bird imagery is used in Act 4 Scene 1. The hawk is a hunting, bird of prey and a bird is trained, it is eventually free and can come and go as it chooses and pleases. It chooses to stay because it gains from its relationship with the trainer and knows its owner and surroundings well. Petruchio showing Kate that she has the opportunity to opt out of the construction of her femininity and can choose to gain social credibility. Kate is happy that she has this choice; she has someone that cares for her and wants her to be with him. Kate can be tamed, but she cannot change and the opportunity with Petruchio is true love and to be accepted for whom she is. Petruchio talks of how he will train up Kate to be like a hawk that has the freedom to come and go whenever she pleases, yet always comes back to her keeper (Petruchio). He speaks of taming a female hawk as, 'man my haggard,' as if looking after a women and getting her to respect you is to train her up like a bird. He speaks of females as items that are there to be trained and he takes up Kate as a challenge. ...read more.

Conclusion

When asked to repeat the Latin to Lucentio, she offers her won words to warn him. 'Now let me see if I can conster it. 'Hic Ibat Simois,' I know you not...I trust you not.' Her words are that of sarcasm and warning Lucentio that he cannot control her like any other girl. She starts to show her true colours; she is sweet on the outside, yet she is a shrew inside. She elopes, thus going against her father, which shows disobedience; this is never seen at the start of the play. Lucentio who marries Bianca and Hortensio who marries a widow, both abused Kate saying she was a shrew and not a good figure to marry. Both men however end up with shrewish wives and are both socially mockable and degraded. Petruchio, by having Kate come to him is elevated in social status by comparison. But equally so is she. She is seen to be the socially preferable and she gets her revenge on the men who constructed her as shrewish at the beginning. Shakespeare has ended the play just how the Sly story begins at the start of Taming of The Shrew. The introduction Scene 2 shows Page dressing up as Sly's obedient 'wife' and that is just how the play ends with Kate the obedient wife of Petruchio. However Kate is a real wife of a real man who has managed to tame her into a socially acceptable figure but also he is just the way she was which was the figure he fell in love with. ...read more.

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