The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew.

English Playwright, William Shakespeare’s comedic play; “The Taming of the Shrew” is a sixteenth century view of the relationships between Men and Women as well as their expected gender roles in society. Written in the early 1590’s, “The Taming of the Shrew” exhibits many of the same Patriarchal societal values of the English society of the period. The play centres on Baptista Minola and his attempts to find the most suitable husbands for his daughters Katherine or Kate; and her younger sister Bianca. Baptista’s intentions are marred by Kate’s shrewish behaviour that seemingly repulses men; she is loud, angry, violent and disobedient. Her younger sister Bianca however has many suitors desiring her and is, in the beginning represented by Shakespeare: to be the exact opposite of her sister and possess all of the attributes an “ideal women” of the period should have. Soon, Baptista with the help of some of Bianca’s suitors find a man to marry Kate called Petruchio. Wealthy and of a good family, Petruchio sets out to ‘tame’ Kate into submission, to be a respectable and worthy wife.

Despite there being a women as a sovereign in Queen Elizabeth I. England, during the Elizabethan period was a patriarchal society, meaning that the organisation of society was dominated by men both in social and domestic spheres. The literature from this period also reflects this aspect. Women in the sixteenth century were restricted to the domestic sphere and the running of the household. They had little, if any rights and were under the power of the men in their lives, either their father or husband. Women of this period were expected to ‘be seen and not heard’, be kind and virtuous and submissive to their husbands wishes. A woman’s life in the sixteen century could be classified as one of servitude; to her husband; to her household and to God.

The ‘ideals’ of the day have impacts on the relationship between the two Minola sisters, Kate and Bianca. Kate’s...