Women Prevail in Shakespeare's Comedies.
William Shakespeare's writings feature many complex and timeless characters. In his plays, there are around 170 roles for women, compared to about 700 for men (Packer 117). However, strong women prevail in Shakespeare's comedies, especially Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. Kate's spicy behavior and unexpected transformation dominate the plot in Shrew, and Beatrice's character has such force and charm that interest in her eventually takes over the play, even though her fate is not an important aspect of the original plot.
A common theme in the two plays is a contrast of characters. In these works, Shakespeare presented women as either terrified or idealized. They were either a whore or a virgin. This can be seen through the characters of Kate and Beatrice: hardheaded, outspoken women; and Bianca and Hero: two subversive, obedient, and easily swooned women (Packer 123). .
One can take a closer look into women's roles in Shakespeare's comedies by focusing on women's roles in Shakespeare's England. During this time, women were engaged in practically every craft and trade, and yet the culture remained in a patriarchal ideology. They were naturally subservient, domestic creatures, seen as objects of desire or a medium of exchange. Shakespeare accepts these medieval ideals of a hierarchy of nature in which .
woman is second to man. In his comedies, however, he is allowed to write with a more detached view of society and a lighter tone (Swisher 39). .
The role of women in Shakespeare's own life was also a great influence in his writings. His relationship with his wife and even his mother prejudiced his opinion of women, and we can see this in his comedies. .
Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew is undoubtedly the central character in this play. Most of the comedy fabricates through her character, and the transformation of Kate from strong-willed and shrewd to obedient and subservient serves as the play's "lesson.