What does a modern audience learn about marriages and the rules of men and women in Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew?’
During the Elizabethan time men and women had diverse roles in society. Shakespeare manifested these attitudes in a comical play called ‘The Taming of the Shrew’. I will be exploring what a modern audience learns about marriages and the roles of men and women in Shakespeare’s ‘.
The play The Taming of the Shrew’ is set in Italy, in a town called Padua. In Padua they believe that once their daughters are a certain age they should get married to a man that their father approves of. In Padua they also believe that the eldest daughter (Katherina) must get married before any of her other siblings (Bianca) ‘I firmly am resolved you know- That is, not to bestow my youngest daughter Before I have a husband for the elder’ Baptista (Katherina and Bianca’s father), is basically saying that Bianca can not get married until her elder sister Katherina is married. Baptista made the decision on who Katherina and Bianca should get married by asking them about their status, how wealthy they are. Dowries were paid to the suitors by their father-in-law because the suitors will be taking on their daughters as wives. When Petruchio arrives at Padua he said he will use marriage as a way to make money, ‘I come to wive it wealthily in Padua’, Petruchio is insinuating that he has only went to Padua to marry a wife and get rich from the dowry he will be given to by the father-in-law.
A scold is a woman that always says her opinion, even when she is not supposed to. She does not fear anyone and has some characteristic traits of a feminist. In Shakespeare’s time scolds were treated as a shrew, a vexatious woman, their behaviour was not like of other women in society. All the men were scared of scolding women, so much so that they did not want to get married to them. In Shakespeare’s time women were viewed to be quite, submissive, patient, loving, caring and obedient to there husband. In act four scene one, Petruchio says he will tame Katherina from her wild shrewish behaviour, ‘she shall watch all night, And if she chance to nod I’ll rail and brawl And with clamour keep her awake. This is a way to kill a wife with kindness, And thus curb her mad headstrong humour.’ Petruchio is saying that he will keep Katherina awake which will not allow her to sleep and that he will be so kind that it will make her change her behaviour for the good.
Women in Shakespeare’s time were treated as possessions in there marriage along with them not being self- sufficient and speaking blunt, like Katherina in the play. Petruchio describes Katherina as being his animals and possessions, ‘She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house, My household-stuff, my field, my barn, My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything. ’Petruchio sounds like a possessive dictator who owns Katherina similar to an animal or house as he compares them to her. This shows me that the women of...