Marriage in William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew Essay example
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Marriage in William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew At the time Shakespeare wrote The Taming of the Shrew the idealistics and attitudes to not only marriage, but also women were of a whole different nature. A woman would have had to be married to someone with the same social status. The man would indeed have to be rich and offer a safe and secure future. Marriage was based around social standings, money, trade and a way to make an alliance. At the time queen Elizabeth was on the thrown and society saw that unless a man owned…show more content…
Despite all this the Elizabethan woman was intelligent with her life she adapted to the way she was anticipated to behave and let the male figure think he was "boss." They often appeared one-way and acted another such as Bianca does in Taming of the Shrew.
Today however women have made a stand they are no longer second to anyone but instead an equal with just as much authority right and power as any other man. A few typical traditions however still remain but these are slowly dieing out as women go out to work and don't always stay home to raise a family.
Taming of the Shrew is set in Elizabethan times in Italy with traditional views on the woman's place in society. The play is fairly controversial, as people believe that it should not be shown as it is out of touch with society. People believe it should not be studied as its basis is extremely sexist. However I feet hat it is relevant as the play is a written piece of history. Indeed it is a piece of fiction but it reflects views of the Elizabethan times and therefore is especially important to society today so that we can move forward for if we forget the past then we don't learn from it.
Kate's character is a fine example of this, the way she behaved because she stood up for herself and didn't wish to be ridiculed in the streets men didn't find her attractive
The plot of The Taming of the Shrew hinges on the marriages of Baptista's two daughters. Over the course of the play, there is a significant tension between different understandings of what marriage is. One understanding of marriage is that it is simply a union of two people in love. This is what Lucentio seems to desire with Bianca and, as the two develop affection for each other, their relationship seems to exemplify this idealistic version of marriage. But, throughout the play, marriage is often more a matter of economic exchange than reciprocal love. As Baptista negotiates dowries and dowers (what the wife is entitled to if the husband dies), he appears to be almost selling off his daughters, rather than marrying them away. While he approves of the match between Lucentio and Bianca, he will not let the marriage happen until he is guaranteed of Lucentio's financial status. And the speed with which Hortensio abandons his love for Bianca and marries a wealthy widow (who is never even named in the play!) suggests that money is his first priority in finding a wife.
Another way of understanding marriage is provided by the example of Petruchio and Katherine. In this case, marriage is simply a power structure, a way of enforcing female obedience to a male husband. In her long, final speech, Katherine summarizes this idea of marriage, telling Bianca and the widow that "Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, / Thy head, thy sovereign," (v.2.162-163).
Still another version of marriage can be seen when Petruchio greets Vincentio as his father-in-law and when Lucentio greets Petruchio and Katherine at his wedding banquet as his brother and sister. Here, marriage is a way primarily of uniting families, rather than individual spouses. It serves to connect family units and, in this case, link together different wealthy, powerful families.
Ultimately, marriage isn't definitively any one of these versions. Different couples create different unions that function in their own ways. While marriage can be a way for a father like Baptista to "sell off" his daughters or for a man like Petruchio to exercise control over his wife, the very fluidity of what marriage is means that marriage doesn't always have to be either these things. Even if Lucentio and Bianca's marriage doesn't necessarily live up to the ideal union of young lovers (as their squabbling at the end of the play might suggest), Shakespeare's play shows that marriages are not all alike, and can be as much of an economic exchange, loving partnership, or hierarchical power structure as an individual couple makes it.