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"The Taming of the Shrew" could either be seen as offensive or acceptable to women dependant upon the era of which they lived, discussing Act 4 Scene 1.

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Introduction

"The Taming of the Shrew" could either be seen as offensive or acceptable to women dependant upon the era of which they lived (16th century-the period of Shakespeare, or the 21st century). Act 4 Scene 1 is a main focal point to debate whether the play is seen as offensive to women. In Shakespeare's time, women were not treated humanely but more like objects. Men were seen as the superior sex of which had complete control over women and could marry who ever they wanted. The women had no say in who they married. Basically the two sexes were not treated equally. Also women could not go to school, but had to stay at home to cook and clean. Men could also bet on the behaviour of their wives to see which is the 'tamest'. Obviously a lot has changed since Shakespearian times and men and women are now treated equally and have the same rights as each other. ...read more.

Middle

Act 4 Scene 1, Line 172-4. Throughout this speech Petruchio is revealing his plan , which he hopes will tame Katherina. This quote means Petruchio still isn't feeding Katherina and wont until she submits, therefore she will never look upon him. This could again think be very offensive as Petruchio is not treating Katherina as a human, but as a bird of prey (wild hawk). Other examples of how badly women were treated at that time can be seen in Act 2 Scene 1; "Then tell me, if I get your daughter's love, What dowry shall I have with her to wife?" Petruchio-Act 2 Scene 1, Line 118-9 "After my death, the one half of my lands, And in possession twenty thousand crowns." Baptista-Act 2 Scene 1, Line 120-1 Not only is Katherina being tamed but before hand she is being auctioned off by her father to the highest bidder. These quotes show Petruchio asking what he will receive if he wins the love of Baptista's daughter (Katherina), and Baptista replies half his land when he dies and twenty thousand crowns because of her temper. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Act 5 Scene 2 the men bet on whose wife is most obedient; "..., Let's each one send unto his wife and he whose wife is most obedient to come at first when he doth send for her shall win the wager which we will propose" Act 5 Scene 2, Line 66-9. This again shows the women as objects and links to wealth. The men are the superior sex, which have control over all including their wives. My conclusion is, that 'The Taming of the Shrew' could definately be seen as offensive to women, especially in Act 4 Scene 1. The women are shown as betting objects and opportunities to gain in wealth and respect. They were tamed to be the perfect wives through starvation and captivity. Everything that was forced upon the women, were not to their best interests, but to the interests of the person doing it to them. How could The Taming of the Shrew be seen as offensive focussing specifically on Act 4 Scene 1? Michael Genever Page 1 5/3/2007 ...read more.

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