This essay compares the role of women in Shakespeares "Taming of the Shrew" and "Much Ado About Nothing"

Essay by mouth02_2002College, Undergraduate February 2004

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The Roles of Women

The roles of women in the Elizabethan time were very confined. Women could be tutored, but they were not allowed to attend universities. Women could not vote, they could not be heirs to their fathers title, and a man had the legal right to chastise his wife as he was seen as the head of the marriage. Gender roles are standards in which men and women are expected to play according to their sex. Women in many of Shakespeare's plays established their own identity in the story through a sequence of interactions with various characters in the play. The female characters in Shakespeare plays can be seen as two-dimensional and unrealistic portrayals of subservient women, or prominent for the time and culture that they lived in. In Shakespeare's The Taming Of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing both of these female characteristics are displayed. The protagonist of The Taming of The Shrew Katherine represents the women who did not give into gender roles by being rude, critical, scornful, and insulting.

Katherine is an intelligent woman who is not afraid to assert her views on any given situation. The character Hero Of Much Ado About Nothing sweet and graceful characteristics gives right into the female gender roles. Hero is very shy and rarely speaks in public. Although these exceptional women are different in many ways their actions, feelings, have formed Shakespeare's women characters.

Katherine is perceived as a shrew, by definition a small rodent. Her intelligence, strong will, dominance, and her out spoken characteristics were mistaken as rude, critical, scornful, and insulting. Her temper and unpleasant behavior is the main cause of the disapproval that she receives from everybody even her father. Shakespeare created a character that had step outside of the social norm. She was...