For most women growing up in Shakespeare’s day, there were few options available in life apart from learning the fine points of “housewifery” while waiting for your father to pick your husband. But as the sixteenth century drew to a close, powerful winds of change were sweeping across Europe. The future then was brighter than ever before because the capacity for knowledge and reason seemed limitless. Explorers set sail to exotic corners of the earth. Were you living at the time, your grandparents would have grown up believing that the earth was flat. It was a new world, where ambition bloomed in the hearts of men and women alike.
As Shakespeare wrote The Taming of the Shrew, Her Majesty, Elizabeth, sat upon the English throne. Tough as nails, the “Virgin Queen” ranks among the strongest single ladies throughout history. To take a husband, she’d have had to compromise her power and her country’s security. All of England knew how impossible it would be to try to tame her. Still, for most women, the privilege to live with as much independence and pride as Good Queen Bess would not be realized for another few centuries.