How far do you agree with the opinion that courtship and marriage are undermined and ridiculed in “The Taming of the Shrew”?

1718 Words Feb 24th, 2014 7 Pages
How far do you agree with the opinion that courtship and marriage are undermined and ridiculed in “The Taming of the Shrew”?

Shakespeare’s drama “The Taming of the Shrew” is set in the Elizabethan era, and marriage and courtship was very different than how it is in the present. Back then it was the parents who picked suitors for their daughters. This choice would be final for the daughters but often women rebelled against the decision as they wanted to choose their own suitors. “Romeo and Juliet” is an example of this. In our “Taming of the Shrew” this is no different as Baptista Minola chooses the suitors in which marry his daughters.
We first see this undermining of courtship and marriage when Petruchio speaks of his view on
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Petruchio takes away the whole aspect of “falling in love” from Katherina as he forces her to marry him and her father happily abides, “will you, nill you, I will marry you”. This again makes a charade of marriage. I agree when Coppélia Kahn says “The overt force Petruchio wields over Kate by marrying her against her will in the first place, and then by denying her every wish and comfort, stamping, shouting, reducing her to exhaustion, etc., is but a farcical representation of the psychological realities of marriage…” as the audience would definitely find it funny and is a perfect example of Shakespeare’s attempts to ridicule the sanctity of marriage.
As Robert Heilman demonstrates, the taming is best viewed as farce which “carries out our desire to simplify life by a selective anesthetizing of the whole person; man retains all his energy yet never really gets hurt” and this is shown as the drama is a comedy of mocking the institution of marriage.
Another negative outlook against marriage and courtship is when we find of Hortensio’s plans to disguise himself as a “schoolmaster well seen in music to instruct Bianca”. Lucentio also disguises himself by swapping clothes and identities with Tranio so that he may “woo” Bianca secretly. This shows courtship to be a mockery as when you court someone, you are opening up and showing the person who you are and that you’ve nothing to hide. Hortensio is doing the complete opposite as
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