Role of Women in Shakespear's The Taming of the Shrew


When we think of women do we think of them as “strong, powerful and fierce”? At least that is what I think, but for years men, society, the government, and the education system have been telling us we’re not good enough or worthy of what we truly deserve to achieve. 

William Shakespeare is no stranger to having female characters treated poorly by men, society, and the government. If women were treated the way Shakespeare so crudely portrayed them in his play there would have been an uprising, women would be less afraid to share their opinions and demand to have the same rights as a man.

The taming of the shrew is a perfect example of idolising the “toxic masculinity” used to control women as it encourages the outdated idea of male-dominance. In the past men were thought to be superior to women as men had a great influence over women. Today the Me too movement, a social movement against sexual abuse and sexual harassment that empowers those sexually assaulted individuals through strength in numbers, bringing awareness to society. So is this our first step in order to conquer inequality?

For hundreds of years, women have been criticized and objectified by society. Male characters from the taming of the shrew are not appropriate role models in terms of their motivation for marriage and their respect for women. The outdated idea of marriage is glamorised, a man can choose or pick the women they want and Petruchio’s psychological abuse of Katherina that promotes toxic masculinity. why are we still teaching this outdated idea of toxic masculinity to children?

marriage should be about spending the rest of your life with the person you love but in the taming of the shrew this is definitely not how marriage is seen. We expect the person they marry to be accepting, respective and caring towards them. these beliefs and fantasies are not what women experienced in the play. Petruchio forced Katherina into the women society expected of her with the help from his trusty old manipulation methods. he wanted Katherina to become kind, calm and loyal as she was labelled as a shrew for simply being independent and having an opinion. After hearing this, is this what we want to teach children? That controlling women is acceptable?  Do we want these toxic adults to be our children’s role models? We need to be supplying students with sources that can actually help to achieve this gender equality. It can be books which female characters are represented as strong and fierce, education videos about consent or documentaries about the history of women.  The internet opens endless opportunities for education. So we definitely should not be including this absurd play, not only due to the fact that the men in this play do Disrespectful and blatant sexist towards women but all throughout the play toxic masculinity is shown.

We all like to make decisions, beyond doubt big ones like marriage, but how would you feel if that decision were made for you? Well this is exactly what it was like for Katherina in taming of the shrew. Women have had this idea that marriage is a must for a normal life. The Taming of the shrew only further enhances the pressure and expectation of women to get married. Katherina’s father made her marry Petruchio, she was furious and disapproved. as anyone would but her opinion didn’t matter, she was still getting married to a man she had never met. Petruchio was a selfish and money hungry man who married Katherina for a dowry. Now do you agree in teaching this in the curriculum?  That a man Can have any women he wants without consent from the women herself. We need to hold those accountable for their actions starting within the education system. Teach teens that their actions can have big impacts. why is outdated toxic musicality still being taught today if there are other sources out their to better educate our generation?

Society expects all women to be the same intelligent, mature and some may even say “lady” like. The taming of the shrew only enhances the belief that women should act a certain way to fit into society’s norms. Are we are to believe that being independent, loud, and having a distinct personality is a bad thing? as this what Katherina is like. Are you ready for this the shocking truth about Shakespeare’s the taming of the shrew? To change Katherina from the shrewish women she was to a wife every man wished he had, petchuchio’s used various methods of manipulation including staving, dehydrating and sleep depriving. Petruchios used psychological abuse towards Katherina  to force her into societies unrealistic expectations. So should we really be teaching people that they need to fit into society’s norms?  We should be teaching students that they should express themselves instead of trying to fit into these out of reach expectations by lowering our own expectations. Because The truth is no one really fits into today’s norms and expectations. Why have they allowed such a controversial play that promotes toxic masculinity into the curriculum? 

Shakespeare teaches us the differences between society today and the Elizabeth era.  The treatment of women may have come a long way from the 1590’s but women still face problems because society hasn’t achieved gender equality. we must stop such a concept from being taught in our curriculum as it encourages outdated ideas of male-dominance and reinforces “toxic masculinity”.

For the last time, the taming of the shrew is ridiculously outdated and simply should not be taught across schools in Queensland. So talk with your friends and family, send a text, even share a post against taming of the shrew. So that gender inequality can finally be put to an end and we all can start a new chapter where women and men have the same rights.

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