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The Taming Of The Shrew: Organized Religion And Obedience

1906 words - 8 pages

All popular organized religions have had a profound impact on male-female relationships. Each has a set of rules to be obeyed related to the roles of wives towards husbands and husbands towards wives. All seem to agree that in a marriage the wife must obey her husband.

William Shakespeare in his play, The Taming Of The Shrew, explores this concept of obeying one's husband within the husband/wife relationship. The play challenges the current feminine attitude towards the marital vows of "honor and obey." Looking at the play from a strictly religions standpoint, one may see Katherine as a shrewish wife with a strong need to be tamed. Although a strong Christian presence serves as a backdrop to the play, it would be interesting to explore the play from the view of other religions, in particular from an Islamic perspective. Viewed from this angle, one discovers that Petruchio uses many devices to ensure the obedience of Katherine. Although his ends might be Islamically feasible, his means are very un-Islamic.

First, Petruchio realizes that to have a successful marriage, he needs Kate to fully obey his every command. Religions all around the world have struggled with this concept. Secular feminine organizations have tried their best to erase any concept of "obeying thy husband" from existence, thinking the concept is ancient and bias when in actuality it has high social merit. In Islam a husband is morally and religiously obligated by God to care for his wife financially, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), said in a hadith said that "All of you are caretakers, one of the other. A man is the caretaker of those under his care and a woman is the caretaker of those under her care." Sine a man is responsible for the protection, happiness, and maintenance of his wife, God has given him a degree of power over his wife. Otherwise, it would be similar to voting for a president, but not giving him the rights to rule a country. God says in the Qur'an:

The wives rights (with regards to their husbands) are equal to the (husband's) rights with regard to them, although men have a degree (of advantage) over them. Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.

(Qur'an 2:228)

Although this verse from Surat Al-Baqara might sound discriminating towards women at first glance, it is in fact full of hidden wisdom. For example, living in today's society, can one imagine doing anything without the supervision of a leader? Even our teachers in high school always emphasized the importance of leaders and leadership. In the workforce, every company has a president, every project has a project manager, and every division has a director. Globally, every school has a principal, every city has a mayor, every state has a governor, and every country has a president. Why should marriage be any different? In fact, since marriage is a much important project, the emphasis on leadership should be greater.

Also, since in an Islamic marriage a man has...

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