Battle of the Sexes would have been another appropriate title for this play because the entire play is women verses men, men verses women. This battle of the sexes shows no boundaries between the rich and poor, young or old, man or women. The basis of all the rivalry stems from the fact that the men in this play look at the women as if they were objects, instead of human beings with feelings. This theory that women are merely objects creates an environment that the women have to adapt to and survive in and the environment of a person will depict what he or she will become, resulting in a battle between the sexes.
The Taming of the Shrew is set in a time period that did not accept women as we do today. In today's society, women who are strong and independent and quick witted are praised. In Elizabethan times women were supposed to know their role in life, being good to their husbands, making children and taking care of them. There were no women in politics, there were no women in business, it was only acceptable for women to participate in domestic areas of life. Women could not live a respectable life in this time period without a male figure to take care of them, rendering them helpless without men. If there was anything that must be done involving economics or education, it was up to the men. Men were the ones who worked and brought home the money to support the family. The roles of men and women were very distinct, and it resulted in giving the men the majority of the power.
In the taming of the shrew, the play focused on two women in particular, Baptista's daughters, Bianca and Katherine. These women lived in this environment that gave men power for all their lives...
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... for both sides. In the case of Katherine and Petruchio, the battle is won because they both love each other and live happily ever after. The battle of the sexes between Bianca and Lucentio is lost because neither is willing to love each other.
In the Taming of the Shrew, the battle of the sexes is more so in the mind of each and every woman, rather than an actual battle between men and women. It is a battle that the women have to overcome in order to be able to enjoy life and to love their husbands, and situations like the fights between Katherine and Petruchio are symbolic of this. When a woman, like Katherine is able to see that love is something that has no roles, or expectations, is when she and her husband can "live happily ever after".
Shakespeare, William. The Taming of the Shrew. Ed. David Bevington. New York: Longman, 1997.
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