Shakespeare/Taming Of The Shrew term paper 12643

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In the beginning of “The Taming of the Shrew”, some say Shakespeare portrays

Katherina as a very shrewish figure. Others may argue that she is not shrewish

but just a very strong willed person. At the end of the play some people say she

is transformed into a very kind and gentle person, while again others will argue

that she is not “tamed” but just putting on an act to “show up” her

younger sister Bianca, whom has always been more beautiful and charming. Kate is

“like a wasp, like a foal, like foal that kicks from his halter; pert, quick

and determined, but full of good heart.” 1. This statement made by one author,

shows clearly that he does not see her as shrew-like, even at the beginning of

the play. The same author states that at the end of the play she has not really

transformed, rather she has just fallen in love with Petruchio, in essence she

is free from torment because she is no longer seen as the shrew. In the

beginning of the play Kate is “consistently in opposition to everything around

her”2, meanwhile “Bianca obeys so gently and with such sweet submission that

it is obvious why she is Baptista’s favorite daughter”2. In the end of the

play, the roles switch and Katherina is submissive to every word of Petruchio

and Bianca resists the commands of her new husband. Kate’s first reaction to

Petruchio, her “mad wooer”, is self-pity, and even her father feels that his

treatment of her would “vex a saint”. He takes her away from the home she is

used to, with servants and maids to wait on her hand and foot, to the country.

There she is away from the luxurious town life and is cold, hungry and tired.

She somewhat learns to watch her temper and obey Petruchio so that he will feed

her so she can survive peacefully rather than miserably. I believe that his

method of taming her is not cruel yet very effective. He shows her that she can

get much farther and live life a lot happier if she is nice and “entreats”

him rather than fighting him. One author (pattern in carpet) says that

Shakespeare sees Katherine and Petruchio as in love at first sight. He says that

their fights are partly like a game and partly a matter of egoism. He sees

Katherine as “testing” Petruchio making sure he is “man” enough to put

up with the worst of her and prove to be the husband she requires. Petruchio

accepts her challenge with delight (and to get Baptista’s money), passes all

of her tests with ease and in fact does prove to be a suitable husband.

Petruchio starts to tame her from the very first time they meet. He stays calm

when she yells and does exactly the opposite of what she expects him to do. He

continues his taming at the wedding by acting even worse than she does, and in a

way, he paints a portrait of her for her to see. He believes that if she sees

the way she acts by repeating her actions, that she will want to change, to be

more pleasant. I think she acts the way she does in part because she doesn’t

realize what she does and to people and doesn’t fully know why people call her

the shrew. By repeating how she acts Petruchio not only tames her but he wins

her love. Even on their wedding day Kate is still furious and does not want to

marry Petruchio. She begins to declare that she will NOT marry him, but he cuts

her off and gives her a kiss. Then he will not even let her stay for her own

wedding dinner. I believe that this is all part of his plan to tame her. In the

end of the play, some may say she is tamed, while others will say she has just

plainly fallen in love. But any way you chose to look at it, she is definitely a

changed person. When the other men call for their wives, they send back a reply

stating that they are busy and just plain ignore their husband’s commands. On

the other hand, when Petruchio beckons Kate all of the men expect her to yell

and scream as she always did. But to their surprise obediently came immediately.

She even makes a speech to the other girls on how they too should be obedient to

their husbands. Once she is finally tamed, she would do anything to please

Petruchio. One author states “she would call the sun the moon, and address old

Vincentio as a young girl”3. She is so tamed by this point that she would even

kiss him on a public street at his command. An act like this would have been

completely unthinkable at the beginning of the play. He even tries to kiss her

in the beginning and she refuses so he must lie to Seignior Baptista to convince

him he has done a good job at wooing her. He also says that she has a new-built

virtue, that not only wins the wager but it convinces her father to raise her

dowry by twenty thousand crowns. The other view, that she is not really tamed

has its arguments as well. Some people see the end of the play as not a sign of

obedience, but just change. It is thought that she still has control over what

Petruchio does, but in a different, more mind manipulative way. She may be

submissive to him, but at the same time, he is just as submissive to her. I

think that he didn’t only tame her, but she tamed and controls him by craft

and not violence. Katherina is not the only one in the play to undergo a

transformation. Petruchio, in the beginning went to woo Katherina only for

money. He was offered a dowry by Seignior Baptista to “get rid of” Kate so

he could wed his younger daughter Bianca to one of her many suitors. By the end

of the play, it is made clear that Petruchio too changed and had fallen in love

with Kate. The relationship that they have at the end of the play is truly love.

They both are willing to change to make each other happy and they both try in

every way possible to make peace in their family. The ironic part of the play is

that they both think that they have control over the other one. All in all

Katherina undergoes a complete metamorphosis from the beginning of the play to

the end of the play. She starts out a girl, acting like foal trying to kick free

from her harness and ends up a submissive, sweet, gentle and kind woman, whom is

controlled yet, controls her husband Petruchio, whom she ends up loving dearly.


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