The Taming of the Shrew, written by William Shakespeare, is a ‘comedy’ believed to have been composed in the late 1590’s. The Taming of the Shrew poses women as objects and subordinates, and their only purpose to bear children and do their husbands bidding, a contrast to men who are put in a high place of power in the play. Kate compares husbands and wives to princes and subjects to assert the hierarchical power structure in marriage. Comparing this segregation in sexes to today’s society, I believe that Taming of the Shrew has little to no correlation to gender roles in the 21 century. When you strip The Taming of the Shrew  of its comic subplot, in which a crowd of lovers in disguise romance a beauty (Bianca), and focus on the story of the “wild” Katherine and her “tamer” Petruchio, Shakespeare’s play comes across as a controversial piece of work. Critics have spent the past century denouncing it as “barbaric, offensive and misogynistic”.The evident divide between women and men is further reinforced in Katherine’s final speech. She declares that women must obey their husbands and be grateful. She suggests that if women do contest their husbands, they come across as “Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty,” (5.2.143) She goes on to say that women should look pretty and sit still.In act 5, Katherine compares husbands and wives to princes and subjects to further reinforce the outdated idea of power structure in marriage. She implies that the home is like a “mini-kingdom”,  saying that unruly wives/subjects threaten the family structure and are a danger to the public, proving this by calling herself a “rebel”:KATHERINE. Such duty as the subject owes the prince Even such a woman oweth to her husband; And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour, And not obedient to his honest will, What is she but a foul contending rebel                                                     (5.2.171-175) Initially, Katherine is a character who is not afraid to speak her mind, and is smarter than her male counterparts. This makes her admirable among female readers, because, after all, who would want to emulate Bianca, (a character who is admired for looks, but is essentially unremarkable in other aspects). Unfortunately, by the end of the play, Katherine the headstrong, outspoken and feisty Katherine that’s introduced to us at the start of the play is gone, and she is replaced with a submissive, meek character, and is less likely to question the male figures in her life as a result.


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