How does Shakespeare present marriage in the Taming of the Shrew?
In The Taming of the Shrew Shakespeare is using Kate and Petruchio’s relationship to present marriage as something women should not aspire to, this is different to the conventions of other comedies, for example; in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing the two characters dislike each other but become better people through love and marriage. Apart from this ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ does seem to have many of the conventions that are required to make up a comedy. Many of the characters appear to be the conventional or stock characters for a comedy, for example Petruchio could be seen as the fool and Bianca as the young, innocent maiden.
The audience did not always respond well to the conclusion to the play, some of the characters do seem strangely disconnected throughout the play and their characteristics are un-naturalistic, Marchute Chutte – as well as other critics of the play – believe ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ “was an adaptation of an older play. Shakespeare took what was originally a tidy little farce and transformed it into a vigorous and colourful one. But it remains a rather heartless play, and although Katherina and Petruchio are entertaining they are not particularly real people.” This is perhaps the reason for their relationship being so out of touch with the audience’s expectations.
Katherine is presented as a strong and independent character and unwilling (and unlikely) to marry, but she is perceived as an annoyance or a ‘shrew’ by the other characters within the play, it is made clear of certain characters’ attitude towards her very early on; ‘No mates for you, unless you were of gentler, milder mould’. All the characters are determined to change her and make her a ‘suitable’ wife, at first she resists but towards the end she changes dramatically, she changes from her strong-willed and independent character to one that seems dependant on a husband ‘Thy husband is thy lord, thy...
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