- 3. Final paper topics
- 4. Is Heart of Darkness a racist text or is it a text that depicts racism?
- 5. Comparison of two of the texts we've read since the midterm
- 6. Tagore or Chekhov compared to the New York Times article of your choice
- 7. Notes from Underground linked to an article in the New York Times
- 8. Nicholas Kristof's "Not Quite a Teen, Yet Sold for Sex," compared to Harriet Jacobs's Incidents
- Citations from Oroonoko that connect to our themes
- Midterm paper topics
- Shrew and Oroonoko
- Shrew, Act 1
- Shrew, MRS and Ph.D.
Monthly Archives: February 2012
Proposed Topic: Cruel and unusual punishment/treatment rendered by humans upon other humans.
* The connection in this theme is apparent in The Taming of the Shrew, Oroonoko, and Candide.
Quote 1: Oroonoko page 336, first paragragh:
“But they were no sooner arrived at the place where all the slaves receieve their punishments of whipping, but they laid hands on Caesar and Tuscan, faint with heat and toil……”
Quote 2: Oroonoko page 314,beginning at bottom of second paragraph to the end of the page:
“He therefore removes her from the otan, with Onahal, whom he put into safe hands, with order they should be both sold off as slaves to another country, either Christian or heathen……
In Taming of the Shrew we see that the issue of getting married is the main idea of the happy life for the woman. And as every father Baptista wants his daughters to get married, as it is a idea of happiness, so he hires the tutors for his daughters to teach them music and Latin. The girls will be more educated therefore will be more attractive to the future husbands. However we also see that the girls didn’t take such classes as philosophy or Law since those subjects were not considered as” woman” subjects at that time. The subjects which could make the woman more educated and developed her independent opinion on the world around her where not needed at that time. Since no man wanted his future wife to be very smart, wise and to show her intelligence, since with the intelligence and critical thinking the wife also become less dependent and more confident personality. At those times the personality of the woman was not a desirable quality. We see this difference between two sisters – Kate who is a personality is less desirable and even not desirable at all, as oppose to her sister Bianca –who is blank, “Tabula Rasa” but she is beautiful, can play musical instruments and is calm and therefore is very desirable among her admirers.
We can see that the idea of educated woman is not desirable for marriage is not only a story for the play it is a reality acording to “The M.R.S. and the Ph.D.” by Stephanie Coontz. “An educated woman developed a “self-assertive, independent character” that made it “impossible to love, honor and obey” as real wife should.” We can see that even now, in 21 century the educated woman is more likely to face the issue that man could be afraid of her because of her knowledge and education. The idea that less educated woman could be a better wife, mother is not so common today, but still present. I think it still present because of the man tendency to be the leader in the family, to finance and support the family. For the last 100 years woman began slowly but constantly moving in the direction of playing almost the same role in family and society as man did. It probably scared man and even affected their self-esteem. But every new tendency which happens in our world is a little bit weird at the beginning and become as a norm after the period of time. I think that our generation is far more different that generation of our grandmothers and who knows what would happened with the generation of our grand-kids.
What is holding men from Katharina in the play is Katharina’s personality. She is “curst and shrewd.” The article “The M.R.S. and the Ph. D.” by Stephanie Coontz published by New York Times states that women’s chance of marriage can be affected by their education. In the past, women had to choose between education and marriage. In the 1990s less-educated women were more likely to get married than educated women, but this is not the case today.
“An educated woman develops a “self-assertive, independent character” that made it “impossible to love, honor and obey” as a real wife should” said a physician in 1905. He stated that the more educated a woman is, the harder she find it to marry because of her confidence and independence. He also warned that middle-class men look for women who are less educated than themselves.
The play Taming of the Shrew both daughter of Baptisa were being educated but this didn’t help them to get marry. Bianca had suitors to educate her, but she doesn’t need to be educated in order to get married since she has several men trying to woo her. I don’t think education plays an important role in marriage. Today Society is different; couples marry each because they believe they should be together for their life and not because they want to find someone who has a matching or similar education.
An article found in New York Times title remixing Ireland’s Gender Blend summarized that how Ireland’s political party are filled with male and had introduced legislation to shift this around. Right now it is requiring the parties to have at least 30% of women in the parties. Men were dominating the society in Ireland.
The way I see how the article is related to Taming of the Shrew is men are more powerful and are the one making the decision. In act 2 scene 1 Petruchio is proposing to Katharina and what’s coming out of Katharina did not wanted to marry Petruchio “Call you me daughter? Now, I promise you You have show’d a tender fatherly regard, To wish me wed to one half lunatic.” Bapista whose Katharina’s father just agreed to Petruchio’s propose then they are married later. This showed women had no right to make their own decision, their life were controlled by the superior. Even though Katharina is in a rich class in the society, and an angry woman, she later become soft and has to pray to her husband Petruchio for food.
In the article even though the new legislation is passed regarding having more population of women in the political parties but in the society of Ireland, they remained unwelcome in the parties. “Yet male politicians have been reluctant to change family-unfriendly hours that discourage women from politics.” This still could prevent many women gaining the power over men in Ireland. So similarly in both society men tend to be the one dominating.
The Taming of The Shrew by Shakespeare and Oroonoko by Aphra Behn show similarities of the use of power. In The Taming of The Shrew we see how Baptista uses his power to wed his daughters and have wealthy men bid for the opportunity to marry into the family while in Oroonoko we see how the prince Oroonoko along with others who have power mistreat those without.
We learn how Katherine is left with the choice of marrying or staying at home under her father’s control while in Oroonoko, although not in full detail, we learn about the abuse of slaves. Oroonoko who fights to prevent his child from becoming a slave takes part in the slave trade market himself.
The use and the misuse of power allows for individuals to be corrupt in order to get what they want.
Early in play The Taming of The Shrew by William Shakespeare, we learn that Katherine and Bianca are to be married off by a suitor chosen by their father. The father of the two is trying to make his daughters more appealing to men who may possibly be interested in marrying either Katherine or Bianca. One way in which he tries to help is by having the girls home schooled. This at the time was only something that was available to the wealthy class.
In Act 1. Sc. 2 line 135 which reads, “Well seen in music, to instruct Bianca” we learn of how Bianca will be learning about music which at the time was important to teach to have a well rounded education which included knowledge of the arts. We also see the importance of music in an article of The New York Times titled Armed With Violins, El Sistema Fights Poverty in Venezuela written by Daniel J. Walkin which shows the importance of teaching underprivileged children how to read, play and understand the history of music. According to the article this is a way of keeping children wanting to learn more and distracted from their surroundings of drugs and poverty. Daniel describes the school’s aim as a means to “address a depressingly universal problem.”
The importance of well rounded education goes a lot further than using your skills acquired to find a job in your field, as we learn from The Taming of The Shrew and Fighting Poverty, Armed With Violins. It also provides more opportunities in life
In The Taming of The Shrew, Katherine uses her sharp tongue as a defense mechanism when dealing with the misogynistic treatment of her as an opinionated woman. In her first meeting of Petruchio, he attempts to undermine Katherine’s temperament by comparing her to an angry untamed wasp. Katherine quickly responds with, “If I be waspish, best beware my sting” (II.1.225). It becomes evident very early in the story that Katherine is not the typical 16th century “lady” as defined by her society. Because of this she is given an extremely hard time by her family and suitors. Katherine despises the expectations that are placed on her by her society to be an obedient and courteous young woman. Subsequently she insults and berates the men who try to court her thus earning her the title of “The Shrew”.
Fast forwarding to present times, while the views and treatment of women have greatly evolved since the 16th Century there is still a sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle implication that outspoken and strong minded women are to be considered “shrewish” or in the words of Mrs. Christine Hamilton, “a battle axe”.
Christopher Petkanas recently published an article in The NY Times (pg E14) named “Wearing Their Strength On Their Sleeves”. In this article Christopher talks about Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the film, “The Iron Lady”. He goes on to describe her wardrobe of power-skirt suits and handbags as a sort of armor worn by powerful influential women such as Joan Collins, Queen Victoria, socialite Lady Rothermere, and Mrs. Thatcher. This wardrobe is categorized in Christine Hamilton’s “The Bumper Book of British Battle Axes”. Mrs. Hamilton who has also been identified as a “battle-ax herself has not yielded to this stereotype but instead wears it as “a badge of honor”. Much like “Kate”, she uses this mindset in addition to her wardrobe as a sort of defensive wall against her critics. Mrs. Thatcher’s look as described by Daily Mail columnist, Ms. Street Porter, is designed to say “I speak, you listen”.
Even in today’s society it seems like women who reach a certain position of power in any job sector are believed to be cold, ruthless, or bitchy. Why after so many years are strong mined and successful women still being criticized and associated with references such as “battle axe, and bitch” while men who carry these same characteristics are accepted as assertive and confident?
In William Shakespeare comedy, “The taming of the Shrew, Act 1, we are introduced to Katherine and Bianca, the two unwed daughters of Baptista Minola. Here we are immediately reminded of the limited and obligated roles that women had to play in the 16th century in order to be accepted by society. Bianca, the younger of the two, is favored by her father as well as her numerous suitors because of her silent and obedient manner as opposed to her sister, Kate, who is labeled the shrew because she is opinionated and refuses to submit and obey her father, or her suitors. Kate’s actions make it extremely difficult for Baptista to find her a husband. This indicates that an opinionated woman was not, for the most part desirable whereas Bianca’s portrayal of a submissive and tamed woman was considered attractive and essential to the men of this era.
Over half a century later, in Surinam, Aphra Behn’s, tells the story of “Oroonoko; or, The Royal Slave”. Imoinda, “the beautiful black venus” of the prince, much like Lucentio’s Bianca is described as modest, sweet in her behavior, and delicate. The little power that she does have over her suitors comes not only from her physical beauty but more importantly from her disposition. Like Bianca she doesn’t have much of a choice. Women in these days as depicted in both readings had little to no say in their futures. They were treated more like property and were expected to adhere to the demands of a society dominated by males.
Would Oroonoko would have felt the same way about Imoinda had she been more like Kate in The Taming of the Shrew?
The parallels between “The Taming of The Shrew” and “The M.R.S. and the Ph. D.” is very interesting because even though the women were to be married, Baptista still employed school masters to provide some level of education to the women. Also, despite that the article states that over time, men have evolved to desire a highly educated woman, it never points out the fact that most women, more so than men, with college degrees are still forced to put their career on hold one way or another in order to raise a family. Despite all the progress that has been made, the fact still remains that there are still more women who make sacrifices to raise a family than there are men.
This leads me to question, do men just want women with a certain level of education because they value her knowledge and highly respect it? Or do men believe that having an educated wife is a reflection of who they are? The M.R.S and the Ph.D states, “By 1996, intelligence and education had moved up to No. 5 on men’s ranking of desirable qualities in a mate. The desire for a good cook and housekeeper had dropped to 14th place, near the bottom of the 18-point scale.”(The M.R.S and the Ph. D…paragraph 10) I believe that is because society as a whole has evolved to judge a person by who their spouse is and that over time it became more desirable for a man to have a wife with a higher education. In the past, when women seeked to marry a man of high education, it was in hopes that he would have a respectable career and be able to provide for a family. I personally do not believe that men are now rating education of higher importance because they want a woman who is capable of securing a good job in order to provide for a family.
Even during Bianca’s and Katherine’s time, it was standard for a woman from a high class family to be educated in the arts, such as singing and playing music. Both Bianca and Katherine are provided lessons in Latin and taught how to play musical instruments, being as they were both destined to marry one way or another, does it not make it appear as though they were provided education so they could entertain and carry a decent conversation with their husband and his peers? What other purpose could there have been for the women to be educated in the musical arts? Even as Hortensio and Lucio pretend to be tudors in order to woo Bianca, it is apparent that none of them care whether she is thoroughly educated or not. They are both more interested in getting close to her than her education. During Lucentio’s session with her he says, “…as I told you before…I am Lucentio,…Vicentio of Pisa…disguised thus to get your love…”(Act3 Scene1 Lines33-35). Prior to Petruchio expressing interest in Katherine, it seems as though Baptista only had intentions of providing education for the daughter that was more likely to get married and yet when it appears as though there is a potential mate for Katherine, Baptista then offers Katherine an education after all. So even in that time period, women were educated to some extent, however limited it was.
In today’s society, even though men rate the importance of education higher than they did in the past, do they actually encourage their wife’s to pursue their professional career and become high earning CEO’s? Or does the average man want a smart wife who will be a good reflection of him to his family, friends and co-workers? I do not disagree that an educated woman is much more likely to get and stay married as opposed to an uneducated woman, as the article states, “…by age 30, and especially at ages 35 and 40, college-educated women are significantly more likely to be married than any other group… an educated woman still single at age 40 is much more likely to marry in the next decade than her less educated counterparts.” .”(The M.R.S and the Ph. D…Page1 paragraph13) It is very undeniable that if a woman was to try and play ‘dumb’ in order to get married in this century, they will not be met with success.
The progress that society has made as far as valuing an educated women is very apparent however, it still remains that there are more successful men than there are women and also, it is more likely for a woman to make some sort of sacrifice in order to raise a family than a man. Even though there are some families in which both partners have their own degrees, careers and also equally share the household chores, the average family today has a wife and husband both with college degrees and yet the husband is the main bread winner whereas the wife bares the responsibility of being the home maker. Having a degree and using it are two completely different things. Most of the women getting divorced today have at least a bachelor’s degree and yet with no work experience they are realizing that it is hard to obtain employment in the field they have their degree in. Why is it the woman who always has to put her career on hold in order to maintain the home and raise the children? So yes, the average man do now seek higher educated women and yet he stills expects his wives to cook clean, keep the children clean and run to embrace him when he comes home from work and yells out “I’m home dear.”… (While her college degree collects dust in the attic or hangs on the wall). I also find it very telling that the article says that when a man is married to a highly educated woman, he is more likely to help her with the house work. As the article states, “the higher a woman’s human capital in relation to her husband — measured by her educational resources and earnings potential — the more help with housework she actually gets from her mate.”(The M.R.S. and the Ph. D Page2 Paragraph4)…my question is why is it considered that he is “helping her” when it should be both their responsibility to take care of the home? So yes, men now prefer a woman with a higher education…my question is why then is it still primarily the woman’s responsibility to do all the household chores? Unless of course she is highly educated enough to receive some assistance from her husband. I am not disagreeing that great progress has been made however ,there is still some work to be done to achieve true fair balance and equality.