The Idea Of Power And Desire In Marriage In The Play “The Taming Of The Shrew”

  • Words 641
  • Page 1
Download PDF

Dominant individuals may ensure that obedience and acquiescence is a trait customary within their marriages. The play explores this concept within its powerfully puissant male characters, who repeatedly showcase the traditional Elizabethan era mind-sets of the exemplary credence that a female partner is most desirable and preferable when she is submissive and servile. Katherine’s obstinate persona and intractable behaviour cause her to be highly inferior and overall valueless. However, the assertive and misogynist Petruchio swiftly accept the challenge of taming Katherine and is tranquil in his ability to exert male dominance over her. This is implemented when he mandates with the use of imperative voice and commands, “Thus in plain terms: your father hath consented / That you shall by my wife, your dowry ‘greed on”. Additionally, Petruchio positions her in a patriarchal demeanour by conjecturing, “And will you, nill you, I will marry you” through the use of repetition. Petruchio’s established dominance as a male in a patriarchal society, has evidently entitled him to use coercive power to force Katherine into a crucial and pivotal decision that will affect the rest of her life. Katherine’s silent reaction further conveys how she has no other choice but to obey his controlled commands, which is based upon her position as a female, as this further exemplifies Petruchio’s dominance over her. His controlling repetitive use of “you” further indicates no expectation of further negotiation of whether Katherine truly wishes to marry him. Whether she accepts or denies his command, has no matter in the say as Petruchio position and power does not regard or care of Katherine’s individualism on the case. As the play continues, Petruchio repercussions in marrying Katherine, however on the day, he humiliates in an ignominious act by behaving contemptibly; however he does express his view on her through a symbolic speech, where he states “I will master of what is mine own / my goods, my chattels; my house, / My household stuff, my field, my barn, / My house, my ox, my a**, my anything”. Despite the first interpretation of the statement being out of tender love, when further looked upon, Katherine is being dehumanized and by representing her in this manner, Petruchio deliberately positions her alongside animal and inanimate household positions. From this viewpoint, the accustomed male power in marriage, makes Petruchio compare objects to Katherine that are voiceless, obedient and have strategic usefulness. Hence,

When a patriarchal dominated person is faced with a social perspective in marriage, their desire may be emphasised upon what brings most advantage to them. This is portrayed within the play, as Petruchio is amenable to marry Katherine who is sharp-tongued, quick-tempered, and prone to violence, due to the opulent dowry he derives when doing so. The moment Petruchio arrives in Padua, his instant claim of, “I came to wive it wealthily in Padua; If wealthily, then happily in Padua”, is clearly a bold yet forthright statement of his true desire: making the optimum alliance he can for himself, which is through marrying solely for financial gain. The use of parallelism further strengthens his perspective of desire, as the word “wealthily” was connected to both a wife and happiness; further showcasing that unless a wife is affluent to him, he cannot be satisfied. This indicates that Petruchio’s main objective to his profound desire is invariably fixated upon what is gained and procured with most advantage to his lifestyle. In Petruchio’s perspective, genuine happiness within a marriage, is only achievable when fulfilling his desire of receiving financial benefit from the potential wife, otherwise, she brings inconvenience and cannot bring happiness. Towards the end of the play, Katherine gives a lengthy, ironic and empowering speech on the recommendation of total subservience to the husband. She also stereotypes women as physically weak and then suggests that they should make their personality mild to match their physique.  

Click to get a unique essay

Our writers can write you a new plagiarism-free essay on any topic


We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.