Essay: Marriages in Taming

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Marriage in Taming

Shakespeare and the dramatic media in which he worked were both stark social commentary that was meant to be humorous and highlight social issues that demonstrate concepts and concerns associated with social change and social problems. The period, when the play, Taming of the Shrew was written and possibly performed was a period of social transition in marriage, among all classes and yet was most prominent in its characteristic change among the classes of people who might have viewed rather than been objects of the dramatic presentation. The upper classes were going through a much slower transition from economic marriage to companionate or affectionate marriages for the simple reason that there was more to lose among that class. Shakespeare's social commentary in this case plays classes against one another but more importantly highlights the differences between affectionate marriages and economic or alliance marriages.

The main relationship discussed in the work is that of Lucentio and Bianca. Though Lucentio is able to win over Bianca, convincing her to fall in love with him the real obstacle is not Bianca but her father (Baptista), who is negotiating a business deal, as Bianca's marriage was just that a marriage of economics and alliance. Lucentio then has the burden of not only attempting to create affection in Bianco but must also convince his future father in-law that he is the best suitor in allegiance and wealth. He creatively convinces Baptista that he is handsomely wealthy as Bianco has more than one suitor (Hortensio) and as a true father of the day and the class he is bound by propriety and practicality to choose the best one to meet the future needs of the family and his daughter. The conflict arises as a result of the fact that Bianco is the second daughter, and as custom would have it Baptista is also bound to find his eldest daughter a husband before he allows his younger daughter to marry. Baptista, shops around for a suitor for Katherina, his elder daughter among his friends and companions:

Baptista: Gentlemen, importune me no farther, / for how I firmly am resolved you know:/That is, not to bestow my youngest daughter 50/Before I have a husband for the elder./if either of you both love Katherina,/Because I know you well, and love you well,/Leave shall you have to court her at your pleasure.

Shakespeare 108)

The calamity and conniving that is carried throughout the work surrounding the marriage of these two women is the main plot line of the work, though the work, as is noted does not stop with any one character being happily married, like so many others do but instead seeks out the continuing social and economic impacts that marriage has upon all the people around it and follows it through the course of the work. One commentator, in an introduction to the work, published in 1998, there is a clear sense that the fate of Bianco residing in the hands of her sister Katherina, is comical in that Kate has the ability to see life as it really is, a game to be played for enjoyment and gain.

Oliver 38) it is Katherina's character that seems to make her the most skilled at creating a comical barrier for her sister's happiness as all Baptista asks turn him down swiftly, stating Katherina's unruly character as the cause.

GREMIO: To cart her rather. She's too rough for me./There, there, Hortensio, will you any wife?/KATHERINA (to Baptista):/I pray you, sir, is it your will/to make a stale of me amongst these mates?/HORTENSIO: 'Mates', maid, how mean you that? No mates for you/Unless you were of gentler, milder mould.60 / KATHERINA: I'faith, sir, you shall never need to fear;/Iwis it is not halfway to her heart./but if it were, doubt not her care should be/to comb your noddle with a three-legged stool,/and paint your face, and use you like a fool. HORTENSIO: From all such. devils, good Lord deliver us!/GREMIO: And me too, good Lord!

Shakespeare 109)

After the strange and rapid marriage between Petruchio and Katherina, where Petruchio turns up late in mismatched ridiculous clothing, insists on getting married in such attire and then rushes from the bride, despite much protests, he himself even makes good fun at the "institution" of marriage, and at Katherine and Baptista's… [END OF PREVIEW]

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