Place of Women in Society in William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew

Place of Women in Society in William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew

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Place of Women in Society in William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew


At the time this play was written there was a huge debate ongoing
about the place of women in society. I am aiming to evaluate
Shakespeare's contribution to this debate. He raises a very
controversial issue. In the induction he sets out clearly what the
play is about, in the lord's speech we are told exactly how women
should behave, this may be Shakespeare's opinion but this view is
taken by many men in Shakespeare's day and age. This would make the
play popular with some people and extremely unpopular with others,
especially women.

In act 5 scene 2 we see what Shakespeare is really saying about the
role of women in society. In Katherina's speech she talks about the
relationship between men and women, different actors and directors can
interpret this in different ways, Katherina can either be playfully
submissive, believing that what she says as humorously ironic knowing
that she will in fact later be the one in charge. Or simply completely
submissive knowing that Petruchio will always be the one in charge.
Or, not giving in to Petruchio, but becoming a partner with him
becoming mutually supportive and happy together.

He uses noun patterns to tell us women have "bodies soft, and weak,
and smooth". Katherina says "thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy
keeper" implying that the wife is simply another of the husbands
possessions. Shakespeare uses language to aid his meaning. Prose is
used by him to show which characters should be seen as low or comic.
Sly in the induction uses prose, also the comic characters in the play
such as Grumio and Biondello. Th...


... middle of paper ...


...ould understand much more about Italy. Maybe without this
induction many people would not fully comprehend what point
Shakespeare intended to put across.

Marriage was very much a business arrangement; it was just a way for
men to make money. Katherina may have gone along with Petruchio just
to make money out of her father. It seemed that men had the most
power, and the women had minimal power if any. Our modern day culture
seems very different. We have now had the most powerful person in the
world at the time (Queen of England) be a woman. We now have women in
high positions of power. Shakespeare has made a valid contribution to
the debate on the position of women. He has helped the debate along by
asking questions, we can now see that the debate has followed on to a
certain measure of equality between men and women.

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