William Shakespeare’s play “The taming of the shrew” is a lighthearted, slapstick comedy written in the 1590’s. This particular era is classified as the Elizabethan era. This famous play has been chiefly based on courtship and the concerns of married life. Both of these characteristics were profoundly relevant to society at this time, in fact this was a society concerned with marriage in general. People living in this era often married for power, land or money rather then for love. Marital disputes became very popular in literature, as this era did not offer any avenues out of an unhappy marriage. .
The laws and practices of these times also did not allow women to have the same opportunities as men. Women were said to be under the authority of their husbands and society would not allow women to perform in plays. In fact, in this era, men acted out all the male and female roles. .
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Another concern of this society was “shrews”, that is “a woman with a violent, scolding, or nagging temperament.” Katherina has demonstrated this idea in the play. Women were expected to act a particular way, and any woman with a willful temperament or who challenged the authority of men, was classified as a shrew. It was for these reasons that men set out to “tame” their wives into the way society felt they should behave. “Taming” can be defined as “being brought from wildness into a domesticated or tractable state.” This idea of one “taming a shrew” is brought out through the main plot of the willful Kate and the equally stubborn Petruchio.
Shakespeare has used the idea of deception in his play to reflect the opinions of this society. This idea of deception has been furthered with the use of disguise. Deception can be defined as “to give a false impression and to cause to believe what is not true.” Shakespeare brings out this deception in his play through the characters. He does this by using a variety of techniques such as disguise.