Taming of the Shrew feminism

Feminist Themes in and Critiques of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew

Shakespeare’s plays open themselves up to a world of interpretation. Whether in discourse, historical context, symbolism, or intentions to leave the audience in conflict with themselves, there is no dispute about his plays lending themselves to every reader’s response. My response to reading “The Taming of the Shrew” was a strange one. I understand that this play is meant to be one of Shakespeare’s comedies, and one of his most popular ones at that; however, there seemed to me to be an awkward seriousness in Petruchio’s treatment of Katherine that bordered on something darkly misogynistic rather than comedic. In that response, it seems as though I’m not alone. “The Taming of the Shrew” has faced many feminist critiques assessing patriarchy, misogyny, woman as commodity, and subordination of woman’s story within a larger, more “serious” frame of class.

Regarding the interpretation of Petruchio’s treatment of Katherine, questions are raised as to whether his behavior is a mirror to hers, simply reflecting back her own demeanor so that, in turn, she understands how she’s treated others, or if his actions towards her are much more misogynistic and cruel, and his intentions to “tame” her a reflection of patriarchy instead. In “Comic Structure and the Humanizing of Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, ” John C. Bean argues:

What we should emphasized in The Taming of the Shrew is the emergence of a humanized heroine against the background of depersonalizing farce… If we can appreciate the liberal element of Kate’s last speech-the speech that strikes modern sensibilities as advocating male tyranny-we can perhaps see that Kate is tamed not in the automatic manner of behavioral psychology but in the spontaneous manner of the later romantic comedies where characters lose themselves in chaos and emerge, as if from a dream, liberated into the bonds of love.(66)

Since farce treats persons as if they lacked the sensitivities of an inward self, that genre is appropriate to a view of marriage in which the wife is mainly the husband’s chattel. But Shakespeare’s romantic comedy is concerned with the discovery of the inward self, with love as personal, and hence with the relationship of lovers who face together the problem of reconciling liberty and commitment in marriage.(66)

However, Dorothea Kehler presents a different perspective in “Echoes of the Induction in The Taming of the Shrew, ” stating:

The explicit and implicit subjects of this play-arranged marriages, the authority of fathers and husbands, the obedience expected from daughters and wives, the economic helplessness of most women-were issues and experiences that touched the lives of everyone in Shakespeare’s audience. While modern interpreters may see Shrew as a high-spirited comedy about role-playing of game-playing, they suppress the knowledge that men, not only on stage, but off, wrote the play and assigned the roles, chose the game and made the rules. (31)


William Shakes, Taming Of the Shrew and feminism? | Yahoo Answers

Obviously the play "taming of the shrew" is deteriorating to women. my question to you now is how is it derogitive to women, i need examples.. I have to write a paper on the topic and unfortunatly i didn't really read the whole play (was goin through a rough time) so any help is very much appreciated.

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