The modern audience would have reacted in similar ways, if there was any element of misogyny portrayed in the play the majority of the audience would dislike it as misogyny nowadays extremely politically incorrect. If anything more objections would be made to the play by a modern audience as we now have more freedom of speech than we did hundreds of years ago. This play is all about how a wife should behave, in the induction, the lord tells the woman exactly that. “With soft low tongue and lowly courtesy” the lord tells the woman to force herself to cry. “An onion will do well for such a shift”. Suggesting that women are false and make things up.
The best way to interpret the play is to interpret it in a way that people will not be offended. This means that we should interpret it in the way that Katherina’s character is not surpressed by Petruchio. I would rather interpret it in this way that any other. I feel that Shakespeare was not a misogynist; he was just asking questions on the subject. There was a huge debate in Shakespeare’s time about the place of women in society; I feel that this play was just meant to add to the debate. It raised questions rather than answering them. We can not tell solely from this what exactly Shakespeare’s view on this subject was. Women had been subservient to men since the middle ages. It was about the time when Shakespeare wrote this play that some women had decided they had had enough.
Marriage was very much a business arrangement. It was then the fathers’ duty to arrange a suitable match for his daughters. The main criteria were income and status. These factors cannot guarantee a happy marriage. A man could marry his daughter to a madman and still see the husband as suitable for his daughter because he is wealthy and has a high status. We saw this in the play where Baptista seems to sell his daughters off to the highest bidder
Shakespeare is just adding more ideas to the debate. He is showing the world a scenario and letting people make their own judgements. We comment on Shakespeare’s views because nobody but people who were close to him would really know what they were. You cannot tell what his opinion on the matter is from this play. But you would get a different opinion if you saw different interpretations if the play. The interpretation of this play when performing it is very significant.
This is the only time Shakespeare has used an induction. This is used to introduce to the audience what the play is about. He also does this in what would be a familiar setting to his audience (Warwickshire countryside). The play then moves on to Italy, a place much less familiar to his audience, the richer more intelligent people of his audience would understand much more about Italy. Maybe without this induction many people would not fully comprehend what point Shakespeare intended to put across.
Marriage was very much a business arrangement; it was just a way for men to make money. Katherina may have gone along with Petruchio just to make money out of her father. It seemed that men had the most power, and the women had minimal power if any. Our modern day culture seems very different. We have now had the most powerful person in the world at the time (Queen of England) be a woman. We now have women in high positions of power. Shakespeare has made a valid contribution to the debate on the position of women. He has helped the debate along by asking questions, we can now see that the debate has followed on to a certain measure of equality between men and women.