The Taming Of The Shrew By William Shakespeare

1097 Words Jan 28th, 2016 5 Pages
From the societal struggles of women in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, to the story of Nora and her domineering and overbearing husband, Torvald, in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, the theme of oppression and mistreatment of women has been prevalent throughout literature. The play The Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare, examines this theme by detailing the female-pursuits of 3 men, Lucentio, Hortensio, and Petruchio, and their respective methods of “seduction”. While Lucentio lies in order to attract Bianca and Hortensio elects to marry a woman simply for her wealth, Petruchio, to the surprise of the other male characters, marries a foul-tempered and sharp-tongued “shrew”, Katherine. After their wedding, Petruchio, a selfish and volatile braggart, subjugates his wife’s temper by clandestinely subjecting her to sleep deprivation and starvation. By the end of the play, Petruchio seems to have “tamed” Kate, as she is ludicrously compliant with his whims, and defensive of his statements. The question remains however, why did men in this society feel the necessity to assert their dominance in almost every realm of life? By examining the attitudes of the characters Hortensio, Lucentio, and Petruchio, the interactions between them, and the outcomes of their marriages, Shakespeare asserts that societal expectations of masculinity, rather than the nature of man himself, produce the attitude of overbearing dominance and is thus the cause of the mistreatment of women.
Open Document