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Sexism in The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

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Sexism in The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

The Taming Of The Shrew by William Shakespeare is an introduction in the everpresent battle of women to be loving and caring wives, while at the same time holding on to our independence. Its plot is derived from the popular 'war of the sexes' theme in which males and females are pitted against one another for dominance in marriage. The play begins with an induction in which a drunkard, Christopher Sly, is fooled into believing he is a king and has a play performed for him. The play he watches is what constitutes the main body of The Taming OfThe Shrew.

In it, a wealthy land owner, Baptista Minola, attempts to have his two daughters married. One is very shrewish, Katherine, while the other is the beautiful and gentle Bianca. In order to ensure Katherine is married, Baptista does not allow Bianca to be wed until Katherine is , forcing the many suitors to Bianca to find a mate for Katherine in order for them to vie for Bianca's love. This play has been critisised and condemned for its blatant sexist attitude it has toward women but upon closer examination of it and the intricacies of its structure it is revealed that it is not merely a story of how men should 'put women in their place'. The play is, in fact, a comedy about an assertive woman coping with how she is expected to act in the society of the late sixteenth century and of how one must obey the unwritten rules of a society to be accepted in it. Although the play ends with her outwardly conforming to the norms of society, this is in action only, not in mind. Although she assumes the role of the obedient wife, inwardly she still retains her assertiveness.

It is curious to note the role of women in Shakespearean li...

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...Katherine is being of a woman finally acting the way in which she is supposed to act, it is difficult to believe that a character as vibrant and strong-willed as Katherine is changed so easily. It would seem more logical that Katherine would simply be acting the part of 'the obedient wife' in order to be accepted in the society in which she lives. Katherine can 'play a part' very well and can even enjoy doing it. This is shown on the road to Padua from Petruchio's house when Kate is forced to address Vincentio as a woman and says, "Young budding virgin, fair and fresh and sweet" (Act IV, scene v, l. 37).

. The obvious sexist attitude of the play does not hinder it because of the reasons stated above. You must also take into account the attitudes of sixteenth century England and the fact that the play is a comedy and I don't think it's meant to be taken seriously.
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