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Taming of the Shrew1
In William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, Katherine is not truly tamed because she simply follows Petruchio’s orders without changing her spirit. Petruchio gets his hands full when he marries Katherine. She is a very wild and rough woman who needs to be tamed. In the beginning of the story, Katherine is a very wild woman; her father speaks of her violent ways: “For shame, thou hilding of a devilish spirit!” (II, i., 27-28). Baptista, Katherine’s father, is obviously fed up with Katherine and her savage manners for him to utter such strong words to his daughter. Katherine is so feral that she will never be able to be tamed. Throughout the play, she remains this way. On the way to Bianca’s wedding, Petruchio threatens to turn back unless Katherine agrees that the moon is shining, and it is not the sun, as it truthfully is. Hortensio, one of Petruchio’s friends, advises Katherine to consent to Petruchio:
Hortensio: “Say as he says, or we shall never go.”
Katherine: “Forward, I pray, since we have come so fare, And be it moon, or sun,
or what you please.” (IV, v., 13-15)
Katherine is becoming very smart at obeying Petruchio. She now understands how to get what she wants from him. Her spirit is still wild and untamed; however, she acts loyal to Petruchio on the surface to avoid suffering Petruchio’s punishments.
By not changing her nature, Katherine shows Petruchio that he is not in charge. The men of the town of Padua need to find a man to marry Katherine to free her fair sister, Bianca. Katherine’s father will not allow Bianca to marry until the elder is married. Petruchio is talked into marrying Katherine, mostly for her father’s dowry. When Petruchio first meets Katherine and talks of marriage, she is very wild and she tries to run away from him: “I chafe you if I tarry. Let me go.” (II. i., 255). Katherine does not want to be with Petruchio. She is happy being by herself and making her sister miserable. She is a very independent woman, and she enjoys living up to her reputation. When Petruchio fails to listen to Katherine about what type of outfit she wants to wear to Bianca’s wedding, she is enraged: “Why, sir, I trust I may have leave to speak, And speak I will. I am no child, no babe. Your betters have endured me say my mind, And if you cannot, best you stop your ears. My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, Or else my heart, concealing it, will break, And, rather than it shall, I will be free Even to the uttermost, as I please, in words.” (IV, iii., 78-85). Katherine directly goes against her husband. She does not show him the respect a husband should receive. Katherine never changes her untamed ways; she stays wild at heart. Obviously, in William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, Katherine is never actually tamed by Petruchio.
The Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare
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The Taming of the Shrew, Love stories, Operas, Petruchio, English-language films, Catharine and Petruchio, The Taming of the Shrew in performance
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