Taming Of The Shrew (1094 words) Essay

Taming Of The Shrew
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.

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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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