Marriage as an Economic Institution
Marriage as an economic institution is also another issue explored in The Shrew. Marriages in the 1700's were arranged for the benefit of all, usually involving large sums of money, land, power or status. This production is no different as the central issue explores finding a suitable husband for the ill-tempered Katarina. While the other gentlemen of Pauda want to marry Bianca (Ruth Bond) for her beauty, Petruccio eyes off Katarina's dowry and convinces Baptista (Rebecca Roberts) that he would be a suitable candidate for her hand in marriage both financially and emotionally. Together they strike up a deal and Katarina is to marry Petruccio. In this sense the focus is drawn to the marriage itself and the benefits for parents, friends, servants and the couple themselves. Love and inner passion is not a factor in this circumstance but rather the future husband the future wife's father arrange the courtship and the marriage.
As a result, the marriage becomes a transaction of money. Lucentio (Tim Dashwood) and Hortensio (Cameron Hurry) face each other off in a battle to win Bianca's heart with their wealth and prosperity. Baptista listens and makes his decision based on the gentleman that can offer the most money and wealth. Conveniently, Lucentio wins Biacna's heart and her father's checklist simply because he could offer more money. If Hortensio however could provide more for Bianca, he would have certainly married Bianca despite her feelings for Lucentio.
Discussion Point Five
Does this play differ from Romeo and Juliet in terms of love? Are Romeo and Juliet's love an "economic transaction'"?
Discussion Point Six
Does Kate really fall for Petruccio? Does Petruccio "tame her"? Does their situation move from an economic institution to a lover's institution?
For more information on marriage as an economic institution please see this site: http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/ This is an excellent site to refer to as it gives a detailed analysis of the play itself, themes, motifs, symbols and much more.