I was still contemplating the article when I picked up a copy of the "Complete Works of Shakespeare" that I borrowed from a family we know. The play that I read for that day was The Taming of the Shrew" which was Charry's and my favorite play to read and act out together.
As I finished it...I came upon a speech that the now-tamed Katharine gives to her sister, and a widow. Both ladies were newly married, and both refused to come upon their husband's request, not knowing that there was a wager of a small fortune upon their obedience.
"Fie, fie! Unknit that threat'ning unkind brow;
Dart not scornful glances from those eyes
To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor:
It blots thy beauty, as frosts do bite the meads;
Confounds thy fame, as the whirlwinds shake fair buds;
And in no sense is meet or amiable......
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee
And for thy maintenance; commits his body
To painful labor both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks, and true obedience,-
Too little payment for so great a debt!
Such a duty as the subject owes the prince,
Even such a women oweth to her husband;
And when she is forward, peevish, sullen, sour
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel,
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?-
I am asham'd that women are so simple
To offer war where they should sue for peace,
Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway,
When they are bound to serve, love and obey.
Why are our bodies soft and weak, and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come you forward and unable worms!
My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
My heart as great, my reason; haply, more,
To bandy word for word and frown for frown:
But now I see our lances are but straws;
Our strenght as weak, our weakness past compare,-
That seeming to be most, which we indeed least are,
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot
And place your hands below your husband’s foot;
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready, may it do him ease.
Needless to say, Katarina won Petruchio a small fortune by coming when he called, and they leave thier friends and relatives to be in awe as to how she was so wondrously tamed as to make even her 'perfect' sister seem like a shrew.
I found it interesting and revealing as to the great distance we women have strayed in our train of thought, and what men back then expected of thier wives.