The Feminist Perspective Of Taming Of The Shrew

1009 words - 4 pages

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare is a play that is ahead of its time in its views toward gender roles within society. Katherine is a woman who is intelligent, and is not afraid to assert her views on any given situation. She is paired with another obstinate character in Pertuchio. The Marriage formed between the two is a match made in heaven for two reasons. First Because Katherine is strong enough to assert her views, and more importantly, she realizes when she should assert them. The second reason the bond survives is that Petruchio is strong enough to accept the fact that Katherine has a mind and, more importantly he loves her for that reason. Petruchio cleverly weaves the relationship into the framework of society without compromising the integrity of the relationship. Petruchio does this by comparing Katherine’s at attitude to repulsive clothing. Carefully and calculatingly, Petruchio forges a relationship that is envied by all who witness it.

Called "cursed Kate" throughout the play, Katherine is openly jealous of the attention he sister is receiving, whereas she, because she speaks her mind, is being bypassed and even avoided in the wooing process. Katherine reveals this attitude in act 2 scene1, lines 31-35, "nay, now i see she is your treasure, she must have a husband; i must dance barefoot on my wedding day, and for your love to her, lead the apes to hell. Talk not to me i will sit and weep!...." This anger is not concealed, it serves to provide motivation as to why a rational person would rebuke petrucchio so rudely upon first encountering him. Katherine surely realizes that petruchio is interested in her for ulterior motives other than love. Be it purse that the dowry will bring or the actions of an insincere lunatic who, "woo's a thousand... yet never means to wed where he hath wooed" (act 3scene 2 lines 15-17). In any event, Kate is not easily won by the brash and brazen would-be suitor petruchio. She perceives (correctly) Petruchio's motivation to be false so she fights his advances vehemently. Unfortunately, though, Katherine carries the burden of having a sister with a higher market value. Seconds after he learns that Katherine is betrothed, Baptista wastes no time in auctioning off his younger daughter to the highest bidder. "now i play the merchants part, and venture madly on an open mart" (A2,s1,l319-320) In this light Katherine’s resistance is justified.

After a forced marriage, Patruchio sets about wooing Katherine in earnest. Petruchio realizes that there is more to his "bonnie Kate” then her weighty dowry. He begins to love and more importantly respect Katherine. Only when Katherine is sure that petruchio is neither mad nor greedy does she begin to fall for him.

Having mutual affection, their problems are only partly solved. The problem lay in the structure of society. IN 16th century society a dainty, subservient, tame woman posses the ideal qualities of her time. Petruchio realizes this...

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