In this essay I will thoroughly discuss the treatment of women in the film “The Taming of the Shrew“. I would have to say that my first impression of women in this film was that they where treated very harshly compared to men, they where treated like men’s possessions; like slaves basically. They would have no money and also they were not allowed to decide who they wanted to marry, it was their father’s decision. Compared to men, they where the superior people.
They ordered women and treated them like slaves.
However, after a close analysis of Kate’s final speech my opinions changed dramatically towards the treatment of women in “The Taming of the shrew”. I think this because Kate in her final speech changes vividly as she lectures all the women how to treat their husbands. I will go through thorough analysis of Kate’s final speech later in this essay. In Elizabethan times, men were considered to be the leaders and women their inferiors.
Women were also regarded as “the weaker sex”, not just in terms of physical strength, but emotionally too.
Furthermore, it was understood that women always needed someone to look after them. For example, if a woman was married then her husband would be excepted to look after her but if she was single, then her father or brother was expected to take care of her. Women were also not allowed to go through many professions i.e. medicine, law and politics, but they were allowed to work as maids or they could work in domestic service as cooks.
Moreover, a good women in Elizabethan times was described as virgin, patient, gentle and quiet.
A good women was also virtuous, pretty, shy, holy and had respect for her husband. However, a bad women was considered to be annoying, loud, excessive and ugly. A bad women would also be on that talks too much, one that is unholy, promiscuous and had no respect for her husband. Bad women where often described as the cabinet of horror, scream of an owl or the claw of a crocodile. A good example of this would be Kate in the start of this story.
Shakespeare shows how women were mistreated in the scenes. For example, in Act 1 Scene 2, Petruchio explains that he’s only in Padua to find a wealthy wife. He doesn’t care what she’s like, or who she is, as long as she has money. This shows us that men only wanted women for their wealth but not for their personality. This also gives us the impression that when men marry a wealthy women they would not really take care of her, they would only care about the money.
This also hints out that women were treated as slaves. Furthermore, in Act 3 Scene 2, Petruchio shows up to the wedding late and in scruffy clothes to embarrass Katherina and which makes her extremely upset. She gets even more upset when he forces and tells her to leave the reception early to go back to his house. There was a storm during their journey home and Kate falls in the mud but Petruchio didn’t help her at all. This proves to us that again women where mistreated in Elizabethan times.
Another example would be in, Act 1 Scene 1; Baptista declares that his youngest daughter may not be wooed until his eldest daughter finds a husband. This shows that women were dominated by the men in their life, and had no control over who they could marry. Similarly, in Act 2 Scene 1, Gremio and Tranio meet with Baptista to try to “buy” Bianca. Each man lists his wealth and titles, and the man with the most money gets to marry Bianca. However, I think that Shakespeare was pointing out that such poor treatment of women is a bad thing, because he portrays Baptista, Gremio and even Tranio as being selfish or callous.
He also makes reference to the fact that a man must win a woman’s love, rather than just her dowry, in order to have a true marriage. Therefore, Shakespeare is portraying women in a positive light by criticizing their poor treatment. On the same note, Shakespeare portrays women in a positive light by showing how a women can change another woman’s mind into making her respect her husband. For example, in Act 3 Scene 5, Kate speaks up for herself, and for women everywhere, saying that she has a voice. I think this show women in a positive manner because Kate gives a long speech advocating the loyalty of wives to their husbands.
When the three new husbands stage a contest to see which of their wives will obey first when summoned, everyone expects Lucentio to win. Bianca, however, sends a message back refusing to obey, while Katherina comes immediately. So this shows that Kate had accepted the society view of how a woman should behave, and that she had also changed dramatically from being a “Shrew” to a patient, gentle and quiet person. The opening lines of Kate’s speech inform women to respect their husbands, then she continues by saying “And dart not scornful glances from those eyes, to wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor”. Here, Katherina is trying to illustrate to the women that they should not give hateful glances from their eyes, and also not to harm the lord, the king, the governor.
Furthermore, as the speech goes on Kate clarifies that women are generally upset by there men because of their treatment and that the women have feelings of how they are taken care of and are very saddened about that. The relationship between men and women is terrible because men are classed as superior and women as the “weaker sex”.