Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew Paper I believe that Shakespeare had a very
little understanding of women. In this play The Taming of the Shrew the women
seem very flat. There is Kate; she is the proverbial “witchy” woman.
The butt of jokes men think of while sitting around a campfire discussing their
troubles with women, or the woman everyman wants to go out with and
“conquer” to prove how really “macho” he is. Then there is
Bianca; she portrays everymans fantasy of the prefect woman. Her youth, beauty,
and charm desired in his world. And finally, the woman Hortensio marries the
Widow. The widow is the “sugar mama” of the group. The lazy male
fantasy of having a woman to love and take care of you at the same time. My
first example of the static characters of women as portrayed by Shakespeare is
Kate. I believe it is a male fantasy of sorts to be the one who could tame the
untamable. I also believe Shakespeare probably shared this fantasy (unless my
other theories of his sexuality turn out to be true). This is accomplished
through Uber-male Petruchio. A quote that shows this is on page 83, line136
“So I to her, and so she yields to me, for I am rough and woo not like a
babe”. This shows how Petruchio is convinced he’s god’s gift to women. And
also portrays the male fantasy of domination. My next example would be Bianca.
She is quiet, beautiful, and weak. Everything diserable to the men around. Later
we find out its somewhat an act but we won’t mention this for my papers sake.
She appears weak in beginning when she has had her hands tide by Kate and is
being beaten by her, ActII page 78, line1 “good sister wrong me not nor
yourself to make a bondmaid and a slave of me”. This is Bianca showing off
how weak she is, being able to be dominated by her husband. Lastly, there is the
widow whom Hortensio marries. She seems to be his caretaker, and not other way
around. This is somewhat of another male fantasy, to be taken care of. And yet
this also embarrasses Hortensio. He appears weak for following a woman, and not
leading as Petruchio, uber-male has. This shows how Shakespeare views women as
followers, and if you are lead by one, then you are not a man. Page 148, line92,
this is right after Hortensio sends for his wife and she tells him to goto her
and Petruchio is making fun of Hortensio “Worse and worse, she will not
come, O vile, intolerable, not to be endured!”. These are the reasons why I
felt that during the reading of The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare had very
little understanding of the female sex. I believe the woman in this book were a
compilation of classic male fantasies shared by all. He should have granted more
freedom to act differently to the female characters. I thought it might have
been interesting if he would have gone somewhat into widows past. Or if he had
shown private flashes of rage by Bianca, that went against her preset character.
I would have also enjoyed somewhat of a prologue of sorts. An explanation of the
roots of Kates bitterness towards her sister, the suitors, and life itself.