The Women Of Romance Essay, Research Paper
The Women of Romance:
and the effect they have on their men
Women have an amazing amount of influence over men. Most men will never admit it, but the ladies in their lives make more decisions than they. In The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, and Erec and Enide by Chretien de Troyes the women have a certain amount of control that the men never realize. Throughout the play, Petruchio seems to be the man in charge, but in reality Kate really decides what is going to happen. Erec insists on testing the love Enide has for him, but she actually has the power to stop what is going on.
To begin, one must have an understanding of what ‘hero’ means, and of what makes one. A hero has humility, self-confidence and is faithful to his love. A hero also has the willingness to risk his life for anyone he cares about, including the women, and to show faith and courage in all his endeavors. Kate and Enide cherish men that exemplify these qualities, and it makes the men more prone to the power of the women because heroic men need women who will love them. Kate and Enide can impose their power based the need of the heroes; they want to be loved.
Petruchio believes that he has the power over Kate. Throughout the so-called “taming”, he insists on making all the rules for her. He does not let her sleep, eat or have anything else she wants. He even destroys the hat that Kate likes, telling her that if she won’t wear the one he likes, then she shall have none at all. Petruchio’s behavior seems almost barbaric, but in the end, he does “tame” Kate, and she becomes the model wife for him. Petruchio married Kate for the dowry, why bother to “tame” her? The obvious fact is that Kate’s attitudes are sincere, and she really is a shrew, but that does not mean that she has no control over Petruchio. After he received the dowry, would he bother with a wife that already loved him and wanted to be his wife from day one? The challenge is what kept Petruchio interested, and regardless of the fact that Kate doesn’t act like a shrew just for him means nothing.
She still decided for Petruchio, by her demeanor, how he would approach the task of making Kate fall in love with him. Her attitude is that of a shrew, and Petruchio overcomes her personality by becoming a controlling, demanding suitor. If Kate was timid and quiet, as Bianca is, Petruchio would have taken a different approach in taming her. The movie presented a more realistic view of this idea, showing to a certain extent that she tamed him. I believe that he realized what it was like to really love someone by seeing how Kate loved him at the end, and deep down he understood that he sincerely loved her. So in effect, she had tamed the great Petruchio, for if there had been a sequel we would see that he no longer treated Kate without respect, and would never treat her the way he tamed her again.
Erec’s sole purpose in taking Enide with him through the forest is to test her love for him. He, like Petruchio, is insecure about the way his wife feels about him, and therefor must test her devotion and loyalty by forcing her to travel in harms way through the forest. ” Ordering her to lead and drive the three horses ahead (De Troyes, 39).” This was extremely dangerous because it meant that Enide was a good distance ahead of Erec, and was busy leading horses at that. Erec is a good, determined warrior who loves his wife, but he doesn’t seem to realize that it is his doubt of her love that forces him to take the adventure. If Enide constantly showered Erec with hugs, kisses and words of devotion, then none of what took place in the forest would have been necessary. By playing a neutral role in their relationship, Enide caused Erec to doubt her loyalty, and so it is obvious that she actually had control of his actions. He allowed the emotions and feelings of having a wife that did not love him dictate his actions. The difference between Erec and Petruchio is that Petruchio came to the realization that he had been somewhat tamed, whereas Erec does not. It doesn’t mean he didn’t learn anything about the devotion of Enide, but that all he required was proof of her undying loyalty.
The problems with the way Erec and Petruchio handled their respective women problems lies in the women themselves. Kate and Enide, however, never come to the realization that they in fact had the power in their relationships. I believe it is a result of the time they lived in; women were not supposed to have any power over men, and so the thought that they might never crosses their minds. Men like Petruchio and Erec, heroic men, need women to make them feel complete, and it is this overwhelming need that give the women they love the real power that is realistically hard to see.