The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare is about a poor tinker named Christopher Sly. He becomes the butt of joke for the King. The Kings orders for him to be taken off the streets one day, and have him put into the Kings robes and rings, and when Christopher wakes up from his drunken sleep the servants and King, disguised as a servant tell him he has been mentally ill for the past fifteen years and now he is healed. The servants and King soon put on a little play for Christopher and his new “wife”. The story that takes place is actually a play within a play taken place in the Elizabethan times.
The play is about two men who try to get two women, one of which could not be married until her older sister was married. The oldest sister, Katherine, was not known for her social status, although she was high class she was known for her rude attitude, and mean spirit. Despite all of these unattractive qualities, Petruchio marries her and through marriage fell in love and was able to “tame” Katherine.
In Elizabethan times, marriages were not up to the two people getting married, but the parents. Generally the couple did not fall in love until after they were married, it was through
marriage they became closer and grew fonder of each other over time. Some couples did not see or meet their spouses until the day of the wedding, or even at the altar. Marriage was viewed more along the lines of a business deal in the Elizabethan times. Most, if not all marriages were arranged. Each side had something to bring to the table in the relationship, the contract was signed, money was generally in the agreement somewhere, and the hope for marriages was for many kids.
The role of women was primarily to get married and have children. Although marriage and children are the primary goal and expectation of women during the Elizabethan times, women did have other roles such as to run the house hold, and to clean. Women took care of the domestic duties, and taught the children the ways of life for when they grew up. The women would teach the girls the wifely duties to tend to and the men would take care of the boys. For high class, or middle class women the duties were a little different. High class women would have their own servants doing the domestics, such as cleaning and running the home. Women in the higher class would generally have much more free time on their hands if they had their own servant. Women such as this would spend their days writing letters, dancing, needle work or sewing, or reading.
When it comes to the men of the Elizabethan times, they were viewed as the one in charge. The head, the boss, the one on top. The men are the ones who take care of the arranged marriages, they set them up. Women were to submit to their husbands every wish and command. In those times, although the women did whatever the men said, most of the men were not hostile and did not beat their wives or kids because the Bible told them not to, although the world then was not perfect and it did still happen. Usually the men would go out and find local simple jobs
to keep the house running and everything paid for. Higher class men, not all of them got jobs because a lot were wealthy enough to live off of their riches, but most would go out and get higher class jobs, such as a clergyman, lawyer, or diplomat.
The Taming of the Shrew set in Elizabethan times shows a little difference, as most people were known for and judged based on their social status. In this short play, they are more judged on their attitude and appearance rather than class, as in the Elizabethan times.
The Taming of the Shrew