Gender Roles in The Taming of the Shrew.
William Shakespeare's play, The Taming of the Shrew has always been an important play for those who study gender and its depiction early literature. Its heroine, Katherine, is such a strong willed and overpowering character in the beginning of the play, and when Shakespeare wrote, that was not as common. The play also depicts the typical males in Tranio, Lucentio, and Baptista, among others. Petruchio and Katherine offer the contrast to the typical roles usually played by people of their gender. It is the changing of the roles that makes the play unique and keeps the audience interested in the play.
In the first act of the play, Lucentio is taken with Bianca right away and wants to court her. After seeing Bianca for the first time, Lucentio is already telling Tranio, "Tranio, I burn, I pine, I perish, Tranio,/ If I achieve not this young modest girl- (I.i.147-148). This is a typical Shakespearean male falling in love at first sight. He is even willing to lower himself and switch places with Tranio so that he can tutor Bianca, saying "let me be a slave t' achieve that maid- (I.i.211). Tranio's job is to keep Bianca's other suitors and her father off Lucentio's scent (Macrone, Brush Up Your Shakespeare, 1990). Lucentio hasn't even formerly met this woman, yet he is already making sacrifices to try for her hand. Love guides many of Lucentio's future actions throughout the play. Lucentio continues to pursue Bianca in this manner and he finally tells her that he is "disguised thus to get your love- (III.i.31-32). Lucentio is too impatient and wants his love for Bianca to be known so that he may court her. He is playing the role of the stereotypical, stop at nothing to get what he wants man. Lucentio and Tranio produce a false Vincentio so that Lucentio might speed up his courting of Bianca. Then Lucentio tells Bianca more about what he has done to win her over.