The Woman's Prize

by John Fletcher

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 186

In Fletcher’s The Woman’s Prize, Fletcher turns around Shakespeare’s famous The Taming of the Shrew, reversing the gender roles and making Petruchio the one to be tamed after his first wife Katharina dies, and he marries Maria.

Part of Fletcher’s motivation for writing this addition to Shakespeare’s play may have been a need for money; when his father died, Fletcher was left with his debts. The play was unlike others at the time; the women are seeking equality and the ability to make decisions, and the men are at a loss of what to do. Maria withholds intimacy from Petruchio and gets other women to do the same. She devises a plan to allow her sister to marry the man she truly wants, and the play shows the various ways in which the women get the men’s behavior to change. However, the women are not purely victorious; at the end of the play, Maria acquiesces to Petruchio. She believes that Petruchio has died and announces that she will be faithful and obedient; Petruchio announces that he has tamed his wife.

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