The relationships between servants and masters

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The relationships between servants and masters closely reflect the gender relationships in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Lucentio and Tranio’s relationship as master and servant is an ideal of the Renaissance era. Tranio risks taking the place of his master because of his love for him and Lucentio always treats him with kindness and respect, almost like an equal. Lucentio’s relationship with Bianca reflects his role with Tranio: Bianca shows respect for Lucentio as he cherishes her and treats her with kindness. However, Bianca fails to complete her role as an ideal wife by obeying her husband. however Petruchio and his servant, Grumio, have a much different relationship. Grumio often disobeys his master, while Petruchio insults and even beats him. These roles are echoed in Petruchio’s relationship with Katherine. Shakespeare uses Lucentio and Tranio’s relationship in the play as an ideal for both the master and servant relationship as well as gender relationships. Though Lucentio is the master, he always treats Tranio with respect and kind words. Tranio demonstrates his obedience in part because he is a good servant, but mostly due to the fact that Lucentio treats him so kindly. Though Tranio takes great risk in putting on the apparel of his master, he takes it in order to please Lucentio. Tranio did not wish to be master but rather to have his master’s wish for Bianca to be granted. He does not abuse his temporary power as master with the other servants and continues to treat them as his equals except when he must keep up his pretense around the public. Tranio even goes as far to have Vicentio imprisoned in order to do as Lucentio told him. Tranio’s obedience goes first and foremost to Lucentio even above his higher master, Vincentio. This supports the idea that Tranio does this because of Lucentio’s kindness for him.

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