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"An exploration of the way Shakespeare presents Katerina in the play".

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Introduction

" An exploration of the way Shakespeare presents Katerina in the play" Katerina is the female protagonist of the play and to me the second most interesting character in it, next only to abominable Petruchio. The way Shakespeare presents her is very complex, entertaining and open to interpretation. She had been given many roles in the play; daughter to Baptista, sister to Bianca, fianc´┐Że and wife to Petruchio, suitor's worst nightmare, mistress to servants and of course the town Shrew.Kate is a complex character because Shakespeare had presented her so differently from other females of the period he lived in. Namely the time where a woman's highest virtues are her abilities to be obedient, placid, meek, uncomplaining, and discreet, plus their abilities in the homemaking process and those mundane things, like playing the pianoforte, painting and sewing. But Kate, as numerous others of Shakespeare's female protagonists, won't stand these stereotypical assumptions. She is of no 'gentler or milder mould' and is considered very 'froward' and compared to the 'devil' himself. She flaunts convention and isn't averse to quick thinking, wit, physical violence and strong language. Kate is a very determined character who taunts and mocks those people around her when she doesn't get her way. Shakespeare presents Kate's relationship and interaction with her family in a very steroetypical way. ...read more.

Middle

The audience knows that Kate must go through a kind of taming as the title of the play indicates, but how we don't know. Step one was in Act 3, the wedding scene. Kate was so bitter and outraged when she thought that Petruchio wouldn't show up, cursing everyone about the 'mad-brained rudesby' who had taken her in, as she believed. Shakespeare must have instilled in her character the contempt of men in general and this would have been the ultimate humiliation, to be stood-up. We don't actually see the wedding ourselves but through the narrating of Signor Gremio we find out about the scandalous happenings in the church where Katerina suffered so much humiliation in the hands of Petruchio. This must have put a lot of pressure on Katerina who was so afraid to be stood up, then when the groom finally showed up, started humiliating her in front of everyone. Shakespeare allowed us to see Kate in another light as indicated by Gremio when he said that Katerina was a 'lamb, a dove, a fool to him' when he himself was saying just six scenes before that she was the 'devil' and 'hell' herself. The juxtaposition and ironic element is amusing. Shakespeare uses this effective technique as he did with the journey, which was narrated by Grumio, to let us see how the others see the current developments. ...read more.

Conclusion

It maybe that they were planning this all along but some would say that it was the ultimate sexist speech ever. Her speech was deliberate and slow, emphasizing each word with a look to a 'froward wife', namely Bianca and the widow. This would seem very much effective in stage. In the end of the speech, which ended beautifully in rhyming couplets 'in token of which duty, if he please,/my hand is ready may it do him ease', we could make our own assumption, whether this was planned by both Katerina and Petruchio, him to make more money and her to finally fool them so much that it would bring her amusement and gratification after all those years of abandonment by her own family. It can also be read as a real submission of a broken woman, much like a meekness of a broken horse. But I prefer to think it is the former. Katerina has to be the most changed character in this whole play. And the way Shakespeare presents her is very interesting since I think no female in his other plays are quite like her, she had the spirit of queen Elizabeth but at the beginning a sense of a toddler. But as the play progress and with Petruchio's character to guide her. She finally sees an advantage to her shrewdness and finally uses it to her advantage. And if my interpretation was right she had used it well to her advantage. Dorhyn Cadiente Shakespearean Play- YR12 Coursework 1 ...read more.

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