The Taming of the Shrew - Kate's Predicament

Topics: Marriage, The Taming of the Shrew, Elizabethan era / Pages: 3 (642 words) / Published: Oct 8th, 2013
In Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew the principal character, the independent and outspoken Kate is faced with the strenuous predicament of dealing with the patriarchal sexism of her society; she is labeled a ‘shrew’ and treated as a second to her sister, who fits the stereotype of the demure and obedient woman of the Elizabethan era. Throughout the play Kate is objectified in many manners by the male characters of the play. While Petruchio is not characterized as a violent man, he still embodies the stereotypical sexism of men of the era, and while he does not use force to attempt to tame Kate, his rude comments and sly insults represent the patriarchal sexism of the Elizabethan society. Kate is constantly referred to as a shrew, a derogatory term referring to a disobedient wife. Someone being a ‘shrew’ is a completely objective opinion, and had men not been the dominators of society, she may have been treated better, which most likely would have lead to her being less abrasive. The objectification of Kate is not only carried out by Petruchio. Gremio remarks that he “[plays] a merchant’s part/And venture madly on a desperate mart,” (2.1.345-346) showing that he thinks of Kate as not a human being, but an object that he made an investment in. What intensifies Kate’s predicament is the seemingly ‘perfect’ personality of her sister. Similar to the bible story of Leah and Rachel, Bianca outshines Kate in many ways, which may be a reason for Kate’s hostility and anger. I believe that the basis of the relationship between Kate and Bianca must have been derived from the classic bible tale of the sisters Leah and Rachel, in which a similar event happened with one having to marry of the older, less desirable sister first. Bianca portrayed an ideal woman of the time, and the constant comparisons between the two of them are very hard on Kate. Bianca is known to be a sweet, well-mannered girl, and the suitors constantly following her around are disturbing to Kate,

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