Taming of the Shrew

” Within The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare unfolds a plot that uses the tools of silence and misinterpretation to satirize the roles of women and marriage during Elizabethan times.  Ironically, it is Katherine who is labeled a shrew, yet she has very little actual voice within this play.  On the other hand, while acting in a shrewish manner, Petruchio gives voice back to Katherine in exchange for her submission. The silence of Sly is important, as his presence buffers the seriousness of the concerns raised by the perspective of his character watching a play.  This leads us to question:  is it Katherine who is being tamed, or is it the audiences reaction that is being tamed?_x000D_
During the Elizabethan era, women were expected to conduct themselves according to strict social norms.  A woman was only considered suitable for marriage if she were obedient, chaste and silent in manner. For a woman to step outside of this traditional role — whether by voicing an opinion in contradiction to her husband, or in not obeying his instruction  was to break social order and thereby be labeled a shrew.  This behavior was considered the ultimate curse to a husband. It was acceptable custom for the perpetrating wife to be carted through town, publicly humiliated and cast out of their circle of friends and neighbors. _x000D_
According to the historical reference in the Oxford English Dictionary, the term shrew meant an endless chattering tongue, but also denoted an evil or disdainful nature.   The term was typically applied to women.  Shakespeare pokes fun at the formal restrictions on behavior of females in Elizabethan society and questions the benefits of marriage in this play, yet he does so in a removed fashion through the use of Slys character — most likely so as to not to invoke contempt of the court.  _x000D_
The audience is watching Sly watching a play.  Shakespeare tells us that this play is a kind of history, w… “