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Taming of the Shrew Essential Questions
Transcript of Taming of the Shrew Essential Questions
Central Question: How does gender affect one's societal experiences and personal identity?
"The play enacts the defeat of the threat of a woman's revolt."
The characters in Taming of the Shrew experience different situations based on gender.
Bianca doesn't have many problems as she's a beautiful and model woman. Unlike Katherine who's independent and opinionated behavior grants her unpopularity.
Bianca's suitors on the other hand strive to live up to a masculine role, lying about their wealth and status to impress her and her father.
Question 1: Are males or females ever portrayed as equals in one or more ways?
Males and females are not usually portrayed as equals but instances of female strength are seen in the play. For example Katherine's distaste for Petruchio and Bianca's intellect.
Petruchio keeps Kathrine from eating and sleeping in the story which does not show that he finds her equal.
The story shows that males are dominant by society, forcing women to act obedient in order to receive a husband or "fulfilling" life.
Kathrine has no desire to impress anyone seems to say she doesn't let the stereotype type of men being more dominant affect her. Which unfortunately gains her the reputation as a shrew.
Question 6: What happens when an individual does not conform to societal/cultural gender roles?
As shown in the Taming of the Shrew when one doesn't conform to societal cultural rules they may not be accepted until they conform. Pressures of emotional and financial security usually ride on fitting gender roles in this time period.
Kathrine is forced to conform to society's roles in the play, as she is "tamed." and only then is she rewarded with a "happy" marriage.
It seems that society will judge if one doesn't conform to societal/gender roles, as most did to Katherine. For example, women like Bianca who conform to society's expectations are rewarded with proper treatment, suitors, and positive reputations.
Question 7: What are the perpetual issues surrounding gender stereotypes?
It may appear as a problem if men feel the need to over assert their dominance as they are "manly men"
Petruchio tries to assert his authority in his marriage with Katherine to defeat her resistance and shrewedness towards him.
It's common to assume the stereotype of girls being pretty, ditzy, and innocent. When Bianca was a smart manipulative girl, cleverly disguising herself as a perfect wife.
"Chapter 3: THE TAMING OF THE SHREW: Avoiding The Feminist Challenge." As She Likes It. 86-119. n.p.: Taylor & Francis Ltd / Books, 1994. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
By: Quintin Jorgensen
Question 3: Are Gender roles determined by society or by nature?
Gender roles are determined by nature and then decided by society in the extremity to which they are taken.
Women are physically formed in a more fragile state than men and a stronger maternal instinct. Because of this society gave them household roles, taking care of the children and supporting husbands, along with obtaining grace and femininity.
Men, however, are built with more physical strength. This attribute made them more popular with manual labor, war, etc. But society gave them a more aggressive and politically powerful role before women.
This unit we focused on gender roles given to us in society and how they relate to characters in literature. In Shakespeare's play, "Taming of the Shrew." We see plenty of different situations and people who both conform and stray from gender roles.
Gender equality seems to be seriously lacking in this play. "Taming of the Shrew" expresses an extremely older generations view on gender roles and expectations on conforming to them. Women are expected to be very dependent on finding a husband and becoming a desirable wife. Whereas men are given much more freedom in independence and will. They also seem to have a lot less pressure to conform to any gender role as they are given more opportunity than the women in this time period.
In conclusion, both nature and society have their place in gender roles. Gender, in this play, affects the paths and opportunities given to you and the expectations held to being a "proper" man or woman. For women this means being soft, feminine, beautiful, and obedient, ready to serve her husband. For men this meant status, bravery, and ability to bring financial stability. Men and women were rarely ever set as equals, and the time period set conforming to your gender role as mandatory at best.