“All of the plays (taming of the shrew, romeo and juliet and a midsummers night dream) we have read this
semester take up the issue of gender hierarchy and, more specifically, the question of men’s control over
women. In each play, one or more women disobey (or try to disobey) the men whom society dictates they
should obey; the results, however, vary significantly. Choose at least two such situations from different plays
and write an essay comparing them that offers an argument about the plays’ perspectives on gender relations.
What conclusions can we draw about Shakespeare’s (or his plays’) attitude towards men’s control of women?
Questions you might want to consider include: What are the relationships between the women and the men
they (try to) disobey? What are the outcomes? If they are different, why? How does each play invite us to feel
about the disobedience and its consequences?
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