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Gender issues are explored in both Shakespeares The Taming of the Shrew and the Zeffirelli film adaptation of the play through cultural context characterisation symbolism and the specific portrayal of Katherina and Petruchios relationship and are adjusted to meet the needs of very different audiences Firstly the cultural context of each text is vital to their portrayal of gender issues in the play Both versions of the play were pitched as comedies Shakespeare wrote the play his first comedy in the late 16th Century and the attitudes and morals towards gender represented in the play are very much a reflection of the time period So although a feminist argument is not explicit Sexism the Battle of the Sexes in The Taming of the Shrew Linda Bamber in the play it is a product of a society where arranged marriages were the norm women were traded and bartered like a comedy Twas a commodity lay fretting by you Twill bring you gain or perish on the seas Tranio Act 2 Scene 1 women had no right to vote and did not work Indeed Kate and Petruchios relationship is typically Elizabethan Kate is Petruchios property as he points out in the Act 3 Scene 2 I will be master of what is mine own She is my goods my chattels she is my house My household stuff my field my barn My horse my ox my ass my anything Petruchios words leave no doubt as to his belief in the patriarchal marriage system that existed during Shakespeares time In contrast Zeffirellis film adaptation was released in the late 1960s at the same time as womens liberation movement was sweeping the countries of the First World It features Elizabeth Taylor as Kate and Richard Burton as Petruchio an interesting casting choice given the time period and the couples very public troubled off-screen relationship As a film adaptation in the context of the 1960s many alterations were
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