The question has been raised if Katherina, of Shakespeares The Taming of the Shrew, was really a shrew or a women that had trouble receiving affection? Her character was portrayed as a strong-willed hellcat who would just as soon devour any man that came near her. When Petruchio attempted to pay her compliments it seemed to take her off guard. In the end Petruchio breaks her of her rude behavior by acting just like her. Petruchio acting the part of the shrew turns into one. Portia in “The Merchant of Venice” had a considerable amount of ntelligence.
She is dictated by her father’s will to accept a husband who could guess the right casket whether she loved him or not. Portia disguised herself as a man, pretending to be a lawyer, and saving her husband’s best friend was an accomplishment. Portia overhears Bassanio tell Antonio that he loved him more than his own wife. Then the icing on the cake was when Bassanio gave his wedding ring away for payment to the lawyer (Portia) for saving his friend. This woman is like a Timex watch that “takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
Ophelia was told by her fiance to become a nun. She was forced by her father to lie to Hamlet. Then she went crazy because Hamlet was thought to be dead. In the end she killed herself. The above examples of females in three of William Shakespeare’s plays are very different characters with at least one thing in common. They were no better than a piece of land, cattle, or possession that a man could own and do with as he pleased. The women all seemed devoted to their men, even when they were treated like dirt. I realize that a man rote these plays.
I agree with some of the feminist writings I have read in reference to William Shakespeare, when they wrote about how he didn’t have a high regard for the opposite sex. Was Shakespeare writing about people and events that might have been transpiring around him or was he out just to please an audience? I believe he wrote to please himself and in turn pleased the people around him–or should I say the men? For the women would not be allowed to make an intelligent move that could be contrary to their husband’s/father’s wishes.