The Taming of the Shrew is a literary exploration of marital issues presented explicitly and implicitly by Shakespeare's characters. The characters demonstrate and allow insight into the preferred behaviour of men and women in marriage, their appropriate roles and duties, and each person's expectations in a partnership. These messages of accepted and traditional understandings are explicitly expressed and easily understood through the characters" statements and speeches. The implied meanings in dialogue, character development and outcomes allow insight into the underlying messages regarding the roles of men and women, and the necessity of a strong partnership. .
A woman's desirability in marriage relies on her manner, as clearly expressed in The Taming of the Shrew. A mild, modest woman is considered a worthy wife, while one who is tempestuous and outspoken is generally disregarded in her marriage potential. It is Bianca's meek and peaceable appearance that forms her appeal to Lucentio and her other suitors. "But in the other's silence do I see, maid's mild behaviour and sobriety", Act 1, scene 1, 70-71. In contrast, it is Katherine's unrestrained nature responsible for her lack of marriageable suitors. The men express their distaste and still maintain their opinion, with the exception of Petruchio, even with the knowledge of her father's wealth. "No mates for you unless you were of gentler, milder mould." Act 1, scene 1, 59-60. Shakespeare unequivocally communicates messages stating the preferred natures of women in an imminent marriage situation, with men clearly desiring wives of acquiescent ways, like Bianca, while avoiding those of bolder natures, like Katherina. .
A man's job in a marriage is explicitly stated in the play. He has control over his wife, and considers himself her governing figure. For example, when Kate and the widow are arguing, Petruchio is prepared to place money on Kate "putting her down".