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Taming Of The Shrew. Essay

2119 words - 8 pages

William Shakespeare's comedies always ended with a marriage. In fact, whether there was a marriage at the end or not alone determined whether the play was a comedy. In each of the three comedies written by Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado about Nothing, and Measure for Measure, there was a very strong female character. However, by the end of the play, the three females conformed to society's norms to achieve a "happy ending". Furthermore, not only did they conform to the norms of their day, but it was a male whom with they fell in love with that changed their ways.Katharine's character at the beginning of the play, The Taming of the Shrew, is loud, bossy, and takes orders from no one. She is jealous of her younger sister, Bianca, because Bianca is sweet, pretty, and what every man wants.Katharine: What, will you not suffer me? Nay, now I see She is your treasure, she must have a husband, I must dance barefoot on her wedding day And, for you love to her, lead apes in hell. Talk not to me. I will go sit and weep Till I can find occasion of revenge. (Shakespeare, 75) She is the female that nobody wants. All the men talk about sweet Bianca that is so unlike her sister, who is known as a shrew in the whole town.Lerman 02Most of the people in the town of Padua have lost hope for Katharine, and think that no man will submit to marrying her, even for her money. The women of society in the day that this play was written were supposed to bow to men, clean their feet, and are obedient. The more obedient a wife is the better. If women did not act in this way, she was bound to be an old maid for the rest of her life. Katharine was expected to be that old maid. Of course she didn't want to. From the quote above, you can clearly see that it made her angry that Bianca was going to marry first. At the time, if a younger sister marries before an older sister, the older sister then has to dance barefoot on her wedding day. This gives an extreme sense of public humiliation to the older sister.Bianca's suitors know that Bianca won't be able to marry until they find a suitor for Katharine. So they find Petruchio. He finds out that Katharine is rich, so he's willing to do anything to make her his wife."Petruchio: Say that she rail, why then I'll tell her plain She sings as sweetly as a nightingale. Say that she frown, I'll say she looks clear As morning roses newly washed with dew. Say she be mute and will not speak a word, Then I'll commend her volubility And say she uttereth piercing eloquence. If she do bid me pack, I'll give her thanks As though she bid me stay by her a week..." (Shakespeare, 87)Petruchio artistically tries to tame Katharine. Eventually, it starts to work, and they start to fall in love with each other. At the end, Katharine gives a speech about how a woman should act and obey her husband, which is quite the opposite of how she would've acted in the beginning of the play.It seems a little unnatural that she would make this kind of change...

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