Gender Roles in the 16th Century

Good Essays

Melinda Grabowski
Dr. Courtney Beggs ENGL 241:002
February 23rd, 2014
Essay 1
Gender Roles in the 16th Century: Men on the Battlefield, Women in the Kitchen

One of the most fundamental themes while reading Shakespeare is the prominent reminder of women at the end of the 16th century and their roles placed under men, as women were a threat to the masculinity, and thus, power held by men. There are clear misogynistic elements in all of the works performed through Shakespeare’s plays, most predominantly appearing in The Taming of the Shrew. As quoted within texts and contexts of this play, the reader becomes aware that The Taming of the Shrew “participates in a tenacious popular tradition of depicting domestic violence as funny” (Dolan …show more content…

It is interesting to make note of the factor of masculinity in this contextual material, where men are “naturally” better at some jobs than women. Contextual evidence expresses that during the 16th century, women had a small catalogue of varies duties or jobs they may participate in for money outside of the home. The text quotes, “The work available to them was usually related to the kinds they did in their own houses” (207). Although women were able to depart from the confinement of their own home, their possible jobs had little to no change. In The Taming of the Shrew, the audience sees the equilibrium between a man and woman through their relationship and their gender roles placed upon them because of their society and upbringing. In order to be tamed, Kate embarks on a journey to change her shrewish qualities. She transforms herself from a loud, vicious woman to the ideal wife that her husband Petruchio desired. In Act four, the audience experiences Kate’s tamed manner in a conversation between her and Petruchio, where she tells Petruchio that whatever he believes is right, to her, it is right as well. “…And be it moon, or sun, or what you please; / An if you please to call it a rush candle, / Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me” (4.5.13-15). Kate had finally submerged herself into the socially accepted role of wife. She puts all of her own faith and truth that she has learned in her

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