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Father-daughter roles in Shakespeare’s comedies The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing


  • Lucia Schoeffer

Summary, in English

Many things have been written about Shakespeare’s comedies The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing yet few scholars have looked at the father-daughter relationships in any detail. This essay explores the father-daughter roles in these two plays and looks at the spectrum of contrasting relationships Shakespeare presents us with. The father roles in both plays are similar, but the daughter roles vary in their way of fitting into or breaking out of the mold of the ideal Renaissance woman and daughter. By looking at what was the standard, socially-acceptable and required custom of the time, as well as what factors influenced and challenged those conventions in Elizabethan England, this essay concludes that Shakespeare is merely exploring the possibility of things working out otherwise; perhaps they work out for the best, but through alternative means and ways of behaving. He is neither encouraging nor condemning—he is merely entertaining. He does so through the art of comedy, drawing a great deal from an already-existing theatrical tradition, the Comedia dell’Arte, which itself took up a number of these themes. And to this Shakespeare adds his own comic touch and an extra dose of humanity; that is, he gives depth and variety to the outcomes of human behavior within a father-daughter relationship with which we can empathize.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Shakespeare
  • daughters
  • fathers


  • Kiki Lindell