Shakespeare’s Interpretation Of Men In Taming Of The Shrew

1263 words - 5 pages

Shakespeare’s Interpretation of Men in Taming of the Shrew

Evidently Shakespeare was writing at a time in which men dominated
society and patriarchal ideology was very much demonstrated as women
had very few rights and opportunities in life compared to those of
men. Fully represented within Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’, the
character ‘Petruchio’ portrays this dominance of males and the way in
which they were able to abuse and humiliate women. Thus I believe that
in this play, women are used as a symbol of male power, or lack of it.
Shakespeare frequently expresses male supremacy concerned with
different themes: love, marriage, wealth and hierarchy. In this essay
I will assess the different interpretations of the male characters in
‘Taming of the shrew’ and how they represent the themes that I have
mentioned above.

Verbally dextrous, Petruchio states clearly that he wishes to “Haply
wive and thrive as best as I may”. Represented to be conceited and
egotistical, his arrogance is reflected by his belief that he isn’t
concerned with love and believes that he has the power to win over
Kate, “Why that is nothing”. Further emphasizing this Petruchio sees
women as a possession and money as a prerequisite for marriage, “I
will be master of what is mine”. Insulting Kate, he also lists her
alongside his animals, “My horse, my ox, my ass, my any thing”. This
demonstrates that Shakespeare interpreted dominant men to disrespect
their wives and disregard their feelings as their only concern was
their wealth and prominence within society. Stated as “Nothing less
but psychological rape”, Shakespeare uses Petruchio to assert his
dominance by bombarding Kate with compliments and criticisms, “And
bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst”, thus demonstrating the fact
that his authority is able to overpower Kate at all times. I believe
that often in ‘Taming of the shrew’; men are intimidated and
threatened by Kates confidence and thus Petruchio physically threatens
her, “I swear I’ll cuff you” as this is the only way he is able to
overshadow her completely by using his strength.

Shakespeare projects Lucentio’s pre-eminence through emphasis of
education, “such as the daughter of Agenor had”, by quoting classics.
However, Lucentio unlike Petruchio shows respect for women as he
genuinely wishes to marry Bianca as he is be smitten with her, “I
found the effect of love in idleness”. Producing a stark contrast to
how Kate is addressed by Gremio, Lucentio speaks of Bianca, “I burn, I
pine, I perish”, demonstrating a courtly love for Bianca as he
perishes and honours her. Gremio however represents the type of male
that is willing to insult women, “You may go to the devils dam” and
disregards women as objects in which men should bargain for
competitively, “woo her, wed her, and bed her, and rid the...

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