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Taming of the Shrew and Oleanna: Women Supersede

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Throughout time there has always been the conventional rule that women must be submissive to their husbands and are expected to tend to the domestic responsibilities within the household (Bender 46). However in modern society, women are as outspoken and independent as men and the negative backlash of such behavior has lessened. Women work alongside their male counterparts and are now able to receive the benefits that were once kept from them by a dominating male society. Although gender roles have been challenged and refined over the course of the twentieth century, main characters, Katherina from “Taming of the Shrew”, and Carol in “Oleanna”, nonetheless portray the exceptions or even the extremes, of feminine independence and superiority to the norm of patriarchy within not only the household, but within society as well (Traversi 96). In both the “Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare, and “Oleanna” by David Mamet, the authors write their female characters to have a power that is atypical for women in their respective eras, thus proving that women are able to manipulate and supersede men through verbal and intellectual prowess, as opposed to brawn.

In the “Taming of the Shrew”, Katherina is nothing but an obstacle or a means to her sister Bianca’s advancement in the social ladder. Even the husband they seek for Katherina is in reality, for her sister’s sake, not her own. When Katherina states, ‘I will never marry’, it is because she believes no “real” husband of her own, who’ll love her for who she is, is possible. In the play, it is seemingly patent and manifested that no one indeed loves her. Katherina is stuck in the roles of being a woman, an independent, an unloved daughter, and a shrew. For Katherina, the more unlov...

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Works Cited

Beck, Ervin., “Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.” The Explicator 57.1 (1998): 8-12.Print.

Bender, David. Reading on The Comedies. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1997. Print.

Brooks, Charles. “Shakespeare’s Romantic Shrews,” Shakespeare Quarterly, 1.3 (1960): 351-56. Print.

Gill, Roma. The Taming of the Shrew. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001. Print.

Mamet, David. Oleanna. New York: Vintage Books, 1993. Print.

"Oleanna, David Mamet - Introduction." Drama Criticism. Ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol.24.

Gale Cengage, 2005. eNotes.com. 2006. Web. (18 Jan. 2010).

Thompson, Ann. “Introduction.”, Introduction. The Taming of the Shrew. United Kingdom: Cambridge UP, 1984. 1-41. Print.

Traversi, Derek. William Shakespeare: The Early Comedies. London: Longmans Green&CO., 1964. Print.
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