Theme Of Feminism In The Taming Of The Shrew

1638 Words7 Pages
The concept of gender roles has always been a question, an important thing in feminism. It examines the roles of men and women according to their gender, and defines gender as a social construct that includes ideologies governing feminine/masculine (female/male) appearances, actions, and behaviors. This is the viewpoint I wish to present Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew from.
The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1592. The main plot is about Petruchio, a gentleman of Verona, and Katherina, the shrew. Katherina doesn’t really want the relationship, but Petruchio marries her (“will you, nill you, I will marry you” II.i.261–272) and ”breaks her in” with various psychological torments—the "taming"—until she becomes an obedient bride.While seeing Katherina and Petruccio fall in love is uplifting, the nobleman’s taming process is offensive. Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew shows both sides of the Renaissance debate over women—so do other contemporary texts. It makes an unclear statement about how women should be treated, just like other Renaissance texts.
Feminism, as we know it nowadays, didn’t exist in Shakespeare’s era. Therefore, many people (e.g.: Phillys Rackin and Linda Woodbridge) see the text as anti- or non-feminist, other readers have considered it feminist, not in the twentieth-century sense, but in general, reflecting on the advancement of women.
The underlying assumption of Shrew—that husbands have the right to tame their wives, who are subject to their husbands—gives way to an anti-feminist interpretation. “Though little fire grows great with little wind,” Petruchio boasts to Baptista, “Yet extreme gusts will blow out fire and a...

... middle of paper ...

... Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1996

Gouge, William. Of Domestical Duties: Eight Treatises. 1634. Dolan 225–28

Shakespeare, William. The Taming of the Shrew

Snawsel, Robert. A Looking Glass for Married Folks. 1610. Dolan 187–93.

A Merry Jest of a Shrewd and Curst Wife Lapped in Morel’s Skin, for Her Good Behavior. C. 1550. Dolan 257–88.

Brooks, Brian. February 1, 2014, „Feminist Struggle in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew”, blog entry on Online Publications of the South-Central Renaissance Conference,

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Wife of Bath’s Prologue. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rded. Ed. Larry D. Benson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987. 105-116.

„Important Quotations Explained” in The Taming of the Shrew, September, 2013,
Open Document