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The Taming of the Shrew, By William Shakespeare, provides contemplation to various themes described as acceptable at the time in which the play is set.

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Introduction

The Taming of the Shrew, By William Shakespeare, provides contemplation to various themes described as acceptable at the time in which the play is set. Themes such as, the role of a wife in a household and the influence of male/father figures on women, are issues that are raised prominently in the play and are often compared to contemporary values and beliefs today. The motif of domestication and a role of a wife in a household can be portrayed simply by just the title of the play. The word 'taming' refers to that of subduing one's dissatisfying characteristics. Petruchio describes Katherina as an animal such as a 'wild-cat' that must be cultivated. The role of a wife was clearly spoken for Katherina by Petruchio as he deprived her of sleep and food until she was willing to agree with everything he said. She was expected to agree that the sun was the moon or vice versa, whenever he pleased to change his mind, and even convinced her to agree that an old haggard man was a beautiful young lady. PETRUCHIO: I say it is the moon. KATHERINA: I know it is the moon. ...read more.

Middle

Katherina also maintains that a woman should not make war with their husbands and instead make peace. 'I am ashamed that women are so simple, to offer war when they should kneel for peace' Katherina also claims that a job of a wife was to look after her husband and do as much for him as one can to make his life a bit easier. 'And place your hands below your husband's foot. In token of which duty, if he please, my hand is ready may it do him ease' The wife has a duty to satisfy a husband' needs wants and desires without ever questioning their authority or their power. They are expected be household women who cook clean and wait on their husbands. The man with the most obedient wife holds considerable honor and nobility as the wives were like trophies to show off to other men. In the Taming of the Shrew, the 3 men, Petruchio, Hortensio and Lucentio, put a wager on who would be the one with the most obedient wife. Surprisingly, Katherina wins the wager for Petruchio and to the dismay of all the men and women proceeds to lecture about the importance of meeting one's husband's needs, to fulfill the life long objective of being a wife. ...read more.

Conclusion

The father is giving away the bride and his responsibilities to her, to the husband or groom. Shakespeare shows broader social implications of the foundation of marriage then just the unity of a man and a woman. He also highlights the control a male figure in society has over a female. Petruchio also renders a strong authority figure. He is loud, violent and shameless and Katherina is not afraid of him until she learns of his pre-eminency eg: depriving her of sleep and food. Petruchio shows the peak of his power when he beats up his servants at his house. At this point in time he plans to give Katherina 'a taste of her own medicine'. He refers to her as a 'falcon' and his 'haggard'. 'To make her come and know her keeper's call... She eat no meat today, nor tonight she shall not...And with clamour keep her still awake... This is a way to kill a wife with kindness' The themes of the roles of wives and the influence of father and male figures are strong in 'The Taming of the Shrew'. They express vividly the morale and beliefs of the time that also can relate to our contemporary lifestyle, which is shown in 'The Taming of the Shrew' inspired movie called 'Ten Things I Hate About You'. ...read more.

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