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Taming of the Shrew Essays: Katherina's Development

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The Taming of the Shrew Essay: Katherina's Development

Katherina's development in the play, The Taming of the Shrew, is a complicated dilemma for the reader to figure out. Is she really tamed by Petruchio? Or does she figure out his game and decide she's better off playing along? Or does she recognize her own excessive behavior in his and decide to change of her own free will? Or does she really fall in love with Petruchio and wish to please her lord? I think her evolution is a combination of all of the above. But do we, as readers, want her to be tamed or was her initial independence a virtue?

It's obvious that Katherina's father, Baptista Minola, hasn't treated her as well as he treats Bianca, her younger sister. On the other hand, is her "shrewishness" a cause or a result of this favoritism? Katherina is obviously a highly intelligent woman whose gifts have no outlet in the domestic company of the household. For example, in their first meeting, Katherina keeps up with Petruchio pun for pun and insult for insult. Perhaps her fury is simply the result of having no outlet for her feisty wit. And when Petruchio comes along and treats her as an equal (the opposite of taming), I think she is taken aback and that is how he is able to swoop in and win her. In this first encounter, Katherina is, for the first time in her life, spoken kindly to by a man. She seems moved by Petruchio's praise. Also, when it appears she has been left at the altar, she weeps and wishes she had never met him. I think her grief is a sign of her genuine affection and perhaps even love for Petruchio.

By the end of the play and in her final speech, Katherina may seem genuinely tamed, depending on your interpretation of the soliloquy -- is it genuine or tongue-in-cheek? Is she really her lord's noble servant or is she pandering to him and what he wants to hear? I think she wants to give her husband happiness, but knows that her husband will do the same for her. I think Petruchio and Katherina would actually have a very balanced marriage of mutual respect, because they each know what the other is capable of.

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The whole play is a series of mirrors within mirrors -- reflections of reflections. Christopher Sly is quite clearly paralleled with Katherina. Is Katherina's true nature revealed or changed? Was the shrewishness a facade to her true romantic and obedient self? Or is she just going along as the dutiful wife as Christopher Sly acts the part of a lord because it is suggested? I think such an independent-minded woman as Katherina would not be as easily swayed.

Essay on Kate in William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew

1760 Words8 Pages

Kate in William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew Katharina or Kate, the shrew of William Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew is sharp-tongued, quick-tempered, and prone to violence and violent outbursts, especially to anyone who tries to win her love. This is shown from the beginning in Act One with the scene among Hortensio and Gremio and her. When Gremio proclaims her "too rough" (I.i.55) and Hortensio claims that they want mates "of gentler, milder mould" (I.i.60), she strikes back with such words as "To comb your noddle with a three-legg'd stool and paint your face and use you like a fool." (I.i.64-65)…show more content…

A woman of that time not only did not have the individuality and independence that we today take for granted, apparently she didn't even have rights to her own children. According to Mary Beth Rose of the Shakespeare Quarterly, "a mother had no legal rights over guardianship of her children unless explicitly appointed as guardian by her husband in his will…According to the law, in sum, the married woman did not exist" (Rose 293).

Society's expectations concerning a woman's role in a marriage during Shakespeare's lifetime were that a woman should sacrifice her individuality in submission to her husband. Such a sacrifice is totally unacceptable to Katharina, who enjoys her independence.

Most of Shakespeare's society believed that the woman should submit to her husband, and yet they did not necessarily expect the wife to sacrifice all of her independence and sense of self. "During the Renaissance the nature of womankind was a major topic of debate. Numerous dialogues, defenses, paradoxes, and tributes devoted to sustaining woman's excellence were published, and in them history was rewritten to include the achievements of womankind. Often these texts demonstrate that women are capable of acting with prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice, and thus are capable of being independent of male political and moral authority". (Benson 98)

I imagine Katharina to be a very beautiful girl.

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