• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Taming of the Shrew: The Degrading of Women

Extracts from this document...


In the 16th century, one of the last things anyone wants to be is a female. Throughout the play, it is evident that the role of a woman is burdensome. There is a set perception of a "perfect woman", and only those depicting these characteristics are accepted by society. In The Taming of the Shrew era, a woman's opinion is never valued, there is a "class gap" between males and females - men are born with a higher rank -, and women are often seen, and are treated, as pieces of property. A woman's opinion is not valued in the least and others always make decisions for her against her will. Throughout the male society, there are mental "expectations" as to how a woman should behave. These standards, although not written in concrete, are expected of all women. Not only is the male society aware of these expectations, but the females are as well, and they often live to meet these expectations. In the play, Katherina vocalizes the basis of these expectations: "...they are bound to serve, love, and obey" (V, II, 164). In this quote, "they" refers to women, and "bound" is a very interesting word to use in this context. ...read more.


Women are also treated as a lower class, and if they ever tried to "bridge the gap" between the two classes, they were shunned by society. Due to the widely known classification of the perfect woman, it is no wonder that only these women are accepted into society. Take Katherina for instance. Kate is described as ...wealth enough, and young, and beauteous, Brought up as best becomes a gentleman. Her only fault - and that is faults enough - Is that she is intolerable curst, And shrewd and forward so beyond all measure ...I would not wed her for a mine of gold! (I, II, 82-88) Clearly, Katherina is not accepted in society. The title "Katherine the Curst" (I, II, 123) is given to her because of her bad temperament. This is seen as a great betrayal toward the female "society" and may be compared to a servant's betrayal toward their king. The quote And when is forward, peevish, sullen sour, And not obedient to his honest will, What is she but a foul contending rebel And a graceless traitor to her loving lord? (V, II, 157,160) blatantly describes the society's view of a woman with, as they would think, shrew-like behaviour. ...read more.


Petruchio makes this quite clear after his wedding by announcing to his wedding guests: I will be master of what is mine own. She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house, My household-stuff, my field, my barn, My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything (III, II, 222-225) Here, Petruchio is claiming Kate as his own, but he is also degrading Katherina from his wife, to a cheap, movable possession he could easily replace. Women are also used as betting pieces, as Petruchio makes the bet Let's each one send unto his wife And whose wife is most obedient To come at first when he doth send for her Shall win the wager which we will propose. (V, II, 66-69), confident that his wife will win him the wager. This is not only demeaning to the women, but also reveals how much the husbands value their wives. This particular bet entitles the winner to boast about his wife's obedience - almost like a dog's obedience toward his owner. The winner of this bet would be able to revel in the glory of the great extent of his wife's trained obedience. Throughout the play, it is beyond evident that women are merely seen, by men, as trophies set in a display case; to be used, and talked of, to boost the winner's (husband's) ego. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Taming of the Shrew section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Taming of the Shrew essays

  1. "Explore Shakespeare's presentation of women in the following scenes of the Taming of the ...

    This is in direct comparison with Kate, as here; Bianca is the one being shrewish. Shakespeare shows how Bianca was in fact the shrew, who acted in a clever manner to be shrewish when she pleased, in order to obtain what she wants.

  2. In this essay I will be focusing on Katherina, a character from 'The Taming ...

    Further on in the play the audience see a development in Katherina's character as when she's talking to Grumio she shows her confusion, as she does not know what she has done to deserve the kind of treatment she is receiving from Petruchio: 'Am starved for meat, giddy for lack of sleep, With oaths kept waking, and with brawling fed.'

  1. Examine the ways in which Shakespeare presents issues of marriage and relationships, with particular ...

    Language is an important factor in Shakespeare's plays, it sorts out the status of people in Elizabethan times. People in high status, for example, Petruchio, spoke in Iambic Pentameter. This is where five pairs of syllables are alternatively stressed, "and woo her with some spirit when she comes."

  2. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Katherina and Petruchio's wedding and the preparations for it. ...

    Hortensio's haste is due to the fact that he knows that Bianca has many other suitors, and he wants to be the first one there to talk with her father about marriage settlements. Petruchio plans to take the 'rich' (1)

  1. What aspects of 'The Taming of the Shrew' identify the play as a comedy?

    Mutton? First Serv: Ay. ..... Petruchio: 'Tis burnt, and so is all the meat. What dogs are these! Where is the rascal cook? (IV, I, 147-148 & 149-150) Petruchio throws the food and the dishes at his 'dim' servants, who, according to Petruchio, have prepared unsatisfactory food for his wife.

  2. Taming of the Shrew - Katherine

    By the end of the play, however, she is presented as being mild and submissive to Petruccio, leading up to her greatest speech in the dialogue of the play. Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee, And for thy

  1. To What Extent is Katherina Tamed by the End of the Play?

    Many may believe the reasoning for this is simply in Katherina's nature, however I beg to differ. I think that Katherina is a very clever, manipulative character and that her behaviour stems form partial neglect from her farther Baptista. For some reason or other Bianca is clearly the favoured child,

  2. The Taming ofthe Shrew

    He said "I will board her though she chide as loud as thunder when the clouds in autumn crack." He was attracted to her spirit and her adventurous nature for it was like his. Petruchio comes up with a plan on how to tame Katherina.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work