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It is curious to note the role of women in Shakespearean literature Many criticshave lambasted the female characters in his plays as two-dimensional and unrealisticportrayals of subservient women Others have asserted that the roles of women in hisplays were prominent for the time and culture that he lived in That such contrastingviews could be held in regards to the same topic is academic It is only with closeexamination of his works that we are able to suppose his intent in creating characters thatinspire so much controversy Two works Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night standout particularly well in regards to Shakespeares use of female characters Afterexamining these two plays one will see that Shakespeare though conforming tocontemporary attitudes of women circumvented them by creating resolute femalecharacters with a strong sense of self The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeares most famous plays and hasweathered well into our modern era with adaptations into popular television series such asMoonlighting For all the praises it has garnered throughout the centuries it is curious tonote that many have considered it to be one of his most controversial in his treatment ofwomen The taming of Katherine has been contended as being excessively cruel bymany writers and critics of the modern era George Bernard Shaw himself pressed for itsbanning during the 19th century Peralta The subservience of Katherine has been labeledas barbaric antiquated and generally demeaning The play centers on her and her lack ofsuitors It establishes in the first act her shrewish demeanor and its repercussions on herfamily It is only with the introduction of the witty Petruchio as her suitor that one beginsto see an evolution in her character Through an elaborate charade of humiliatingbehavior Petruchio humbles her and by the end of the play she will instruct other womenon the nature of being a good and dutiful wife In direct contrast to Shrew is Twelfth Night whose main female protagonist is byfar
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