However, since they have been studied, performed, and taught for five hundred years, they may be seen as formative of contemporary notions about the relationships between males, females, and power. Representations of gender in Renaissance drama are tied to their original presentation: It is the ways in which these texts reflect or distort the gender expectations of society, either Elizabethan or contemporary, that is so important. Comedy that centers on the relationship between conventional couples rather than on resolution of the situation that keeps them apart is really quite difficult to find in Shakespeare.
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Marriage as an Economic Institution As a romantic comedy, the play focuses principally on the romantic relationships between men and women as they develop from initial interest into marriage.
In this respect, the play is a typical romantic comedy. However, unlike other Shakespearean comedies, The Taming of the Shrew does not conclude its examination of love and marriage with the wedding.
Rather, it offers a significant glimpse into the future lives of married couples, one that serves to round out its exploration of the social dimension of love.
Instead, The Taming of the Shrew emphasizes the economic aspects of marriage—specifically, how economic considerations determine who marries whom. The play tends to explore romantic relationships from a social perspective, addressing the institutions of courtship and marriage rather than the inner passions of lovers.
Moreover, the play focuses on how courtship affects not just the lovers themselves, but also their parents, their servants, and their friends. In general, while the husband and the wife conduct the marriage relationship after the wedding, the courtship relationship is negotiated between the future husband and the father of the future wife.
As such, marriage becomes a transaction involving the transfer of money. Had Hortensio offered more money, he would have married Bianca, regardless of whether she loved Lucentio.
The Effect of Social Roles on Individual Happiness Each person in the play occupies a specific social position that carries with it certain expectations about how that person should behave. For instance, Lucentio occupies the social role of a wealthy young student, Tranio that of a servant, and Bianca and Katherine the roles of upper-class young maidens-in-waiting.
At the very least, they are supposed to occupy these roles—but, as the play shows, in reality, Kate wants nothing to do with her social role, and her shrewishness results directly from her frustration concerning her position.
Because she does not live up to the behavioral expectations of her society, she faces the cold disapproval of that society, and, due to her alienation, she becomes miserably unhappy.
Kate is only one of the many characters in The Taming of the Shrew who attempt to circumvent or deny their socially defined roles, however: Lucentio transforms himself into a working-class Latin tutor, Tranio transforms himself into a wealthy young aristocrat, Christopher Sly is transformed from a tinker into a lord, and so forth.
However, the play illustrates that each transformation must be undone before conventional life can resume at the end of the play. A servant may put on the clothes of a lord, but he remains a servant, one who must return to his place, as we see with Tranio.
Likewise, Lucentio must reveal his subterfuge to his father and to Baptista before moving forward with Bianca. In fact, the primary excitement in The Taming of the Shrew stems from its permeable social boundaries, crisscrossed continually by those who employ a disguise or a clever lie.
In the end, however, the conventional order reestablishes itself, and those characters who harmonize with that order achieve personal happiness.Another thing to note about gender is that when Shakespeare's plays were first performed in 16th century England, all the actors were male.
Feminism & Gender Roles in The Taming of the Shrew. William Shakespeare is a rich and suggestive author in terms of alerting students to issues in women's studies and gender ideology.
Although Shakespeare reflects and at times supports the English Renaissance stereotypes of women and men and their various roles and responsibilities in society, he is also a writer who questions, challenges, and modifies those representations.
Men vs. Women: Examining the Relationship between Genre and Gender in Shakespeare by Kristen Kurzawski Overview. Shakespeare plays can be a challenge to teach, but they also give teachers the opportunity to teach a range of skills and concepts.
William Shakespeare - Feminist criticism and gender studies: Feminist and gender-study approaches to Shakespeare criticism made significant gains after Feminists, like New Historicists, were interested in contextualizing Shakespeare’s writings rather than subjecting them to ahistorical formalist analysis.
Turning to anthropologists such as . William Shakespeare is a rich and suggestive author in terms of alerting students to issues in women's studies and gender ideology.
Although Shakespeare reflects and at times supports the English Renaissance stereotypes of women and men and their various roles and responsibilities in society, he is also a writer who questions, challenges, and .
Lady Macbeth is the focus of much of the exploration of gender roles in Macbeth. As Lady Macbeth propels her husband toward murdering Duncan, she indicates that.