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What does a moderon audience learn about marriages and the roles of men and women in Shakespeares' 'The Taming Of The Shrew'

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Introduction

What does a modern audience learn about marriages and the roles of men and women in Shakespeare's 'The Taming of the Shrew'? During Shakespeare's time the role of men and women were very different in society.' The Taming of the Shrew' emulates these attitudes and I shall analyze how marriage and the roles of men and women shown in the play. In 'The Taming of the Shrew not all of the daughters in a family could marry for love, the eldest daughter had to marry first before the younger daughters could marry. This is why Bianca couldn't marry Hortensio, "And will not promise her to any man, until her eldest sister is wed first." In Shakespeare's time one of the most important things to a father was that his daughters marry men of good caliber, with wealthy homes and an authoritative family. Petruchio tries to prove that he can offer all these things to his eldest daughter, Katherina. ...read more.

Middle

Everyone now knows their place and Lucentio can finally say that the shrewish woman is tamed and that she behaves like a traditional woman. "Tis a wonder, by your leave, she will be tamed so". In a previous act Katherina is teased by the widow for being shrewish and her husband is viewed as being unfortunate for having such a wife. "Your husband, being troubled with a shrew, Measures my husband's sorrow by his woe- And now you know my meaning." The widow is saying that Petruchio is burdened by such a shrewish wife which is a very nasty thing to say. The men use their wives as part of their own rivalry; they treat their wives like entertainers and find their behaviour very amusing. This is very different to modern attitudes because women and men are equal in our society. The men use animal and hunting imagery to describe their wives. "Am I your bird? ... then pursue me as your draw your bow." ...read more.

Conclusion

She starts off her speech by calling husbands names which suggest that they are the top of society, "Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, They head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee, And for thy maintenance; commits his body." This is a drastic change to what Katherina thought before she was tamed. She speaks as if a husband is a woman's everything. Katherina then talks about what men do for their wives, "Painful labour both by sea and land, To watch the night in storms, the day is cold, Whilst thou li'st warm at home, secure and safe." She talks as if a husband risks everything for his wife and that they should be very grateful for all his hard work. Marriage in Shakespeare's time seemed to be a business arrangement because men saw it as a way of making a lot of money. Women also seemed to have very little power and it all belonged to men. It seems very different to today where women and men are equal in everything, due to acts like the Sexual Discrimination act which stops people being discriminated because of their sex. ...read more.

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