Taming Of The Shrew And Oleanna: Women Supersede

2653 words - 11 pages

Throughout time there has always been the conventional rule that women must be submissive to their husbands and are expected to tend to the domestic responsibilities within the household (Bender 46). However in modern society, women are as outspoken and independent as men and the negative backlash of such behavior has lessened. Women work alongside their male counterparts and are now able to receive the benefits that were once kept from them by a dominating male society. Although gender roles have been challenged and refined over the course of the twentieth century, main characters, Katherina from “Taming of the Shrew”, and Carol in “Oleanna”, nonetheless portray the exceptions or even the extremes, of feminine independence and superiority to the norm of patriarchy within not only the household, but within society as well (Traversi 96). In both the “Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare, and “Oleanna” by David Mamet, the authors write their female characters to have a power that is atypical for women in their respective eras, thus proving that women are able to manipulate and supersede men through verbal and intellectual prowess, as opposed to brawn.
In the “Taming of the Shrew”, Katherina is nothing but an obstacle or a means to her sister Bianca’s advancement in the social ladder. Even the husband they seek for Katherina is in reality, for her sister’s sake, not her own. When Katherina states, ‘I will never marry’, it is because she believes no “real” husband of her own, who’ll love her for who she is, is possible. In the play, it is seemingly patent and manifested that no one indeed loves her. Katherina is stuck in the roles of being a woman, an independent, an unloved daughter, and a shrew. For Katherina, the more unlovable she is or seems to be, the more she proves her point of a “real” husband who loves her for who she is, is not possible. In Acts I and II, Katherina is a more masterly, dominant, and familiar character than the others. Katherina’s envy and suspicion of others is so great as well as her need for assurance, that it is believable to her that everyone is fallible and believable to the other characters that before Petruchio, no one could penetrate her defenses. So determined is Katherina to make herself invulnerable to others that she makes herself insufferable, and finds in insufferability, her one defense. It is no wonder that Katherina is a bad-tempered, headstrong, domestic tyrant and for these reasons, that Petruchio’s tactics of “curing” Katherina, are quite shocking, yet in the same notion predictable, because as the old saying goes, “fight fire with fire”. A great deal of the humor of the first meeting between Katherina and her suitor Petruchio depends on the determination of each to reduce the other to subhuman status. In “The Taming of the Shrew”, Katherina′s "pointed nose" or rather her sharp tongue, is her bone of contention (Thompson 7). This essentially means that her foul and crude language is the problem...

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