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The Taming of the Shrew

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 03:04 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 61 
  • Words: 1810
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Examine the different ways in which Shakespeare presents the attitude towards marriage in the play, ‘The Taming of the Shrew.’



The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare’s earliest comedies, and it shares many essential characteristics with his other romantic comedies, such as Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. These characteristics include light-hearted and slapstick humour, disguises and deception and a happy ending in which most of the characters come out satisfied. The play has been dated from as early as 1594 and as late as 1598. (http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/shrew/context.html)

The main themes in the play are love, marriage, domination, society expectations, betting and money. Does love really exist in the play or is it just love for money.

It seems that the key to a happy and successful marriage is money. This comedy written by Shakespeare uses disguises and that also is a key part to the play. Although it is intended to be a comedy, there is sometimes a black cloud hanging over it. For instance the way in which Katherina is treated doesn’t always seem to be funny; instead it is quite cruel and degrading. “She eat no meat today, nor none shall eat; last night she slept not, nor tonight she shall not.” (Page 62, act 4 scene 1 line 182-183)

Men saw marriage as a way to get rich; love didn’t even enter the equation. Padua is a rich area and therefore many suitors fled there in the hope of becoming wealthy. “I come to wive it wealthily in Padua,” says Petruchio. He asks outright, “Then tell me – if I get your daughter’s love, what dowry shall I have with her to wife?” (Page 37, act 2 scene 1, line 119-120) The husbands were given a dowry by the father of the daughter when they became married. Women didn’t have any say in who they chose to marry; instead the decision was given to the father. If a daughter was not married then they were looked shoddily upon within the society. In this era every...

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