Customs of Elizabethan England in "The Taming of the Shrew"
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This paper details the background of Elizabethan England in Shakespeare's time, in which there were many rigid standards for social customs and marital traditions, but the Reformation was encouraging women to be more independent and to control their own lives, resulting in the emergence of a new "Renaissance woman." It is this conflict of ideas that is played out in "The Taming of the Shrew" and an understanding of the times as put forth in this paper, along with parallel examples from the text, adds to a richer understanding of the play.
From the Paper:"Contrary to young Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, the average age for brides of the time was twenty-four, and for grooms it was twenty-seven, but the legal age of consent for girls was twelve, for boys fourteen (Mack 54). Although Kate's age is never mentioned in the The Taming of the Shrew, one can assume that she is probably close to this age, if not a bit older. It is frustrating for her to be single, when Bianca has so many suitors, and her anger at Baptista for helping Bianca to obtain a husband is understandable. When she accuses him of favoritism, and declares that, because of him, she will have to "lead apes into hell," she actually is citing a common conception of the period. When a younger sister married before an older one, it was customary for the elder sister to dance barefoot at the wedding to avoid becoming a spinster. It also was believed that the eternal fate of an "old maid" was leading apes into hell (Charlton 87)."
Cite this Term Paper:
Customs of Elizabethan England in "The Taming of the Shrew" (2003, February 17) Retrieved August 10, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/customs-of-elizabethan-england-in-the-taming-of-the-shrew-1562/
"Customs of Elizabethan England in "The Taming of the Shrew"" 17 February 2003. Web. 10 August. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/customs-of-elizabethan-england-in-the-taming-of-the-shrew-1562/>