A. “A Woman’s Work is Never Done” A complaining and lamenting ballad

  1. The “I” in the song is supposedly a married women.
  2. A song for maidens to warn about married life.
  3. Married women lived a stolid life full of constant hard work.
  4. Maidens and the general populous should listen to my song.
  5. I wake up early and clean the house if it needs it and then I make breakfast for my husband.

F. Next I wake the children, get them dressed, and feed them breakfast.

G. After their breakfast is done I send all of them, except the baby, off to school. I feed the baby, put him to sleep, and put the soup pot onto boil.

H. I now cook the soup and make sure it does to overflow and then the clock chimes to let me know I need to make lunch for my husband.

I. When my husband has finished lunch he rushes out the door without so much as a kiss, which grieves my heart to see.

J. I now make the beds and sit and knit, spin, wash, wring, and sew till dinnertime.


K. After dinner I put the children to bed and by now the baby is crying for my milk. L. I feed the baby and try to sleep despite the baby’s crying so often.

M. Any maidens who hear my song should listen and enjoy life now while they are single and make the most they can of it before they become a married woman.

A. KATHARINA:….Beggars that come unto my father’s door Upon entreaty have a present alms, If not, elsewhere they meet with charity, But I, who never knew how to entreat, Nor never needed that I should entreat, Am starved for meat, giddy for lack of sleep, With oaths kept waking, and with brawling fed. (4.3.4-10).

B. She feels Petruchio is keeping her on her toes, with the way he is treating her. It feels like she is doing all of this housework, as if she has a family that she is taking care of that is leaving her no time to rest, exhausted from lack of sleep.

B. “The Woman to The Plow, and The Man to The Hen-Roost”, A comical ballad

A. Men and Women should listen well to this story of a man and his wife.

B. They had a fight one day and agreed to do each others work to see how difficult it truly was.

C. The man did the cooking, the baking, and the cleaning, and fed the ducks, hens, and geese, became the temporary housewife.

D. He burned the bread and rocked the baby in the cradle so hard he fell out and broke his nose.

E. When he went to milk the cow she kicked him in the head and when he went to make the butter he forgot to put in the cream so no matter how much he churned no butter was ever made.


F. Now we focus on the wife and her trying to work in the field and plant the crops.

G. When she tried to plow she did it unevenly and spoiled the field and when she tried to plant the seeds she too left many bare spots and piled up the seeds so much that the birds came and ate most of them.

H. She then tried to get hay for the animals and she overturned the cart on which she was carrying it and killed the horse pulling the cart.

I. They both saw what the other did and the man said he would never again try to tell his wife that her burden was much easier then his and never again would they try to switch their working roles

J. The wife then went on with her housework and housewifery content in her role and never again did she chid or blame her husband for saying her work was easier than his.

K. Husbands should take heed of this and leave the housewifery and housework to the women and go about their own work content in what they do.

A. PETRUCHIO:…. As with the meat, some undeserved fault I’ll find about the making the bed, And here I’ll fling the pillow, there the bolster, This way the coverlet, another way the sheets. Ay, and amid this hurly I intend That all is done in reverent care of her. And in conclusions shall watch all night, And if she chance to nod I’ll rail and brawl, And with the clamor keep her still awake. (4.2.168-76)

B. In many ways Petruchio is living out this ballad on purpose. He is the one who is causing all the fights they have and he is messing up the house work and doing it poorly on purpose, in order to show her how she should be behaving and to “tame” the shrew in her.