The Role Of Women In Taming Of The Shrew And Ten Things I Hate About You

974 words - 4 pages

How and why have societal expectations concerning the role of women been appropriated.

Texts comment upon the society in which they are based. Some are intentionally didactic while others just comment upon the time merely by being set in it, revealing the conventions and paradigms that are prevalent. The issue of social expectations concerning the role of women is evident in Shakespeare’s play Taming of the Shrew and Gil Jungers’ Film Ten Things I hate about you. Their widely differing social and historical contexts clearly shape their treatment of this theme, reflecting the environments in which they were produced.

Taming of the Shrew was written and set in Elizabethan society, as a ...view middle of the document...

The monologue marks that the conflict has been solved and that the happy ending has occurred. I would suggest that Shakespeare has actually utilised irony to comment upon the state of society. “Too little payment for so great a debt” can be interpreted mockingly and in fact I believe that the tone has sarcastic undertones implied. Shakespeare used this falsely-jarring resolution as a platform from which to criticise the strictly defined gender expectations of his society. Why is it that women owe their husbands? Is this really the only way to have a happy ending, as implied by the contrast that is evident, not only in the behaviour, but the contentedness of Katharina? Shakespeare not only asks these questions but he asks his audience, whether it is right that these beliefs are common place and makes them question these thoughts.

Our own societal context forms the setting of Ten Things I Hate About You, thus while the universal theme of gender-based societal expectations remains, its treatment varies accordingly. Contrast is used to show the difference between two teenage girls, Katharina and Bianca, one who conforms to what is expected of her and one who actively rebels. “Yup, see, there’s a difference between “like” and “love”. Because I like my Sketchers, but I love my Prada backpack.” The shallowness of Bianca is compared to, and shown to be less favourable than, Katharina’s independent ways “What’s this? It says Sarah Lawrence... Isn’t Sarah Lawrence on the other side of the country?
Hence the basis of its appeal.’ Her independence of character is highlighted favourably through humour and an emphasis on wit.
Katharina stands up to her father and his wishes through the use of dialogue and witty banter which...

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