The Role of Marriage in Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer’s Night Dream and The Merchant of Venice

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Shakespearean comedies, like “The Taming of the Shrew”, “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” and “The Merchant of Venice”, typically end with a happy ending usually involving a marriage between a couple that was courting throughout the play. The ill-matched couples courting throughout the play often encounter obstacles and experience an uncanny style of courting. Shakespeare focuses on the hectic courting of the poorly matched individuals married at the end of the play rather than the future lives of these newlyweds is not given much thought in order to give the play a light ending. Rather than Shakespeare describing love as a natural human state, necessary for true happiness, Shakespeare’s plays are doubtful about marriage’s ability to provide contentment. Shakespeare’s portrayal of marriage emphasizes its social function rather than the two individuals involved having a mutual love and respect from one another. In Shakespearean comedies, the father uses his power to decide who his daughter marries in order to maintain social, economic and political power. The three comedies begin with the conflict between daughter and father when it comes to a father’s influence on the daughter’s marriage. The father in the play, sees the marrying of his daughter as important because of the financial, political aspects rather than his daughter’s happiness. In Shakespeare’s comedies like “The Taming of the Shrew”, “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” and “The Merchant of Vencice”, Shakespeare portrays marriage as a social function, rather than a route to personal happiness. Shakespeare lived in an age devoted to the maintenance of order through hierarchy, an age in which the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib was both historical fact and article of faith. (2). S... ... middle of paper ... ...tista accepting Petruchio and Lucentio as a potential suitor for his daughters shows that Baptista has no concern for Kate’s or Bianca’s happiness. The play tends to explore romantic relationships from a social perspective, addressing the institutions of courtship and marriage rather than the inner passions of lovers. 2. Women were expected to please her husband, listening to any request he may have. Women are expected to act a certain way to become a perfect wife for her husband. The third way Shakespeare portrays marriage by showing that women give into the power of men. It is the women’s moral and social responsibility to give into the power of her husband. Women easily given in to the men’s superiority displaying the female weakness. The author discusses how Shakespeare uses “The Taming of the Shrew” to reflect the real life relationships between men and women.

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