Gender Roles In Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew

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Shakespeare’s play, The Taming of the Shrew, not only entertains an audience, but it also demonstrates typical gender roles. In the play, there are women who conform to society’s gender roles and there are women who challenge those roles. Even though there are women who obey, those women may not believe the roles are accurate. Bianca begins the play following society’s rules, but later shows her true feelings about how she should behave. On the other hand, her sister Katherina and a widow both challenge the role of women as they act loud, angry, and disobedient. In The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare creates a consistent theme of gender roles that describe how men and women should behave and what happens when people do not follow those rules. …show more content…
Because of her sister, Bianca knows how society feels about women who try to fight gender roles. After witnessing the challenging task of finding Katherina a husband, Bianca knows she does not want to have the same fate. Because of this realization, Bianca endeavors to hide her true personality and uses subtle manipulation to receive the results she desires. In act two when Hortensio and Lucentio are begging for her love, she does not give them an immediate answer. Instead, she manipulates both men for her own pleasure (Shakespeare 43-44). This scene with Bianca and the two men is the first sign of Bianca’s imperfection. Other than manipulation, Bianca’s true personality does not begin to show until after she is already married to Lucentio. At the end of the play when the husbands are calling their women back into the room, it is assumed that Bianca would respond because she is supposed to be obedient; however, Bianca does not listen (Shakespeare 83). The fact that Bianca refuses to listen to her husband’s orders foreshadows the issues in the future for this married couple. Bianca may have made people believe that she is innocent and obedient; however, once she is married it is clear that she has more in common with her sister than others …show more content…
When Hortensio, Petruchio, and Lucentio make a bet on who’s wife is most obedient, it is ironic that Katherina is the only wife to pass their test (Shakespeare 83). Katherina transforms throughout Petruchio’s taming school and eventually learns how to behave like a woman. It is possible that Katherina has simply learned how to play Petruchio’s game and is only pretending; however, Katherina has still made substantial progress from how she acted originally. Because Petruchio’s taming was such a success, many viewers of the play might have attempted the same kind of taming to their own wives. In order for men to realize that taming a wife is unrealistic, Shakespeare created the character of a widow to let those men know they cannot repeat Petruchio’s

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