The male society

Not only is a woman’s opinion not valued, but women are not valued as human beings; however, they are valued as possessions. Petruchio makes this quite clear after his wedding by announcing to his wedding guests: I will be master of what is mine own. She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house, My household-stuff, my field, my barn, My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything (III, II, 222-225) Here, Petruchio is claiming Kate as his own, but he is also degrading Katherina from his wife, to a cheap, movable possession he could easily replace.

Women are also used as betting pieces, as Petruchio makes the bet Let’s each one send unto his wife And whose wife is most obedient To come at first when he doth send for her Shall win the wager which we will propose. (V, II, 66-69), confident that his wife will win him the wager. This is not only demeaning to the women, but also reveals how much the husbands value their wives. This particular bet entitles the winner to boast about his wife’s obedience – almost like a dog’s obedience toward his owner. The winner of this bet would be able to revel in the glory of the great extent of his wife’s trained obedience.

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Throughout the play, it is beyond evident that women are merely seen, by men, as trophies set in a display case; to be used, and talked of, to boost the winner’s (husband’s) ego. Based on numerous reoccurring references throughout the play The Taming of the Shrew, it is plain to see how a woman’s opinion is easily disregarded, her status is automatically put a notch under men, and she is valued as one would value a temporary possession. For a woman in the 16th century, life is a struggle. Not only are women unable to speak their minds, they are shunned if they do.

Being considered lower-class is something each of them must live with each and everyday – the fact that they will never be considered “good enough” in the eyes of men. However, one must be seen as a human being before being put into an equal class with men. Unfortunately, this is a long way off for women as they are seen as mere possessions. The impact the male society has on the treatment of women is so immense that even someone classified as shrewd can be “tamed” into following the expectations of their society.

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