The Taming of the Shrew
The transformation of the aggressively ill-tempered Katharine into a trophy wife has made Shakespeare’s romantic comedy one of his most controversial works. Modern audiences in particular have found fault with this story due to the social injustices that it contains. Despite the controversy, William Shakespeare’s enduring play, The Taming of the Shrew, makes a statement on the influence that social roles have on individual fulfillment. It demonstrates the different restraints that come out of society’s set standards and expectations. In his tale of witty proportions, Shakespeare comments on society’s effect on personal happiness through the pressure of conformity, through the economic aspects of marriage, and domestication.
Each character in The Taming of the Shrew holds a social standing that have certain
expectations of the way they should carry themselves. Age, gender, occupation, lineage, education and of course wealth decide each person’s role and status. For example, Katherine and her sister are upper-class maidens who are in need of suitors, Lucentio has the role of a young wealthy student, and Traino is merely a servant. They are forced to cope with the lives they have been dealt and have little room for fulfillment outside their social bubbles. Kate, however, serves to demonstrate the downfall of neglecting the social norm. As a result she is deemed a bitter shrew and her harsh qualities stem from her frustrations regarding her social position. Therefore, she has no choice but to confront the cruel disapproval of her family and friends and becomes miserable in her alienation. Kate stands as the sole character who refuses to conform and fights against her socially stipulated position.
Different from most romantic comedies, this play is mainly about love beyond the
wedding. It gives an outlook on the lives of married couples which highlights how love can be
socially motivated in a sense. Although emotional...
Bibliography: "The Taming of the Shrew Analysis." Shmoop. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. .
"Yachnin, Paul. Personations: The Taming of the Shrew and the Limits of Theoretical Criticism,
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