‘Instruct Her What She Has to Do’: Education, Social Mobility, and Success
For Shakespeare, education is a means of achieving social advancement and mobility. In both The Taming of the Shrew and Henry V, we see examples of success when an educative program transforms Katherina and Katherine into domesticated English wives. What we also see is how that transformation benefits not only the women but, more importantly, their male teachers. Through their wives’ public performances of their educations, Petruchio and Henry receive acclaim by exhibiting masculine achievement. Substitute class for gender and we see that universities that tout diversity as a means of advancing their first-generation students not only hope for their students to benefit but, equally important, strive to gain public praise for their recruiting and admissions efforts.