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Is Petruchio's intention to dominate or liberate Katherina?

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Introduction

Is Petruchio's intention to dominate or liberate Katherina? Evident by her use of prose, Kate does not conform to the 'acceptable behaviour' that is expected of her and is consequently she is isolated, insulted and made to feel an outcast by the majority of society. Images of hell and demons are often concerned with her character establishing that the male characters are afraid of her outrageous behaviour, "From all such devils, good lord, deliver us". Even her own father refers to her as "a most impatient devilish spirit". I therefore believe it can be established that Kate has an acceptable explanation as to why she acts so outrageously if she has been constantly criticised and offended. Patently Petruchio commits himself to "tame her", using several methods which prove to be patronising and are aimed to shock and intrigue Kate. In this essay I will assess the extent Petruchio's intentions are to dominate and control Kate or whether in actual fact, he aims to liberate her through his domination with the hope that she will begin to enjoy life and be socially accepted. Defining his aims clearly, Petruchio states, "Haply to wive and thrive as best I may", making no disguise of the fact that he wants a rich wife. First meeting Kate, he uses a technique described as "nothing less but psychological rape" as he uses his verbal authority and supremacy to attack her mind. ...read more.

Middle

He chooses not to allow her the choice of whether she actually wants to marry him but disguises his thirst of authority by using positive comments that will inevitably intrigue Kate as she is not used to this type of flattery, "I see thy beauty". Often referring to flattery, Petruchio knows that this will hinder Kate from reacting unacceptably as she allows him to speak of her favourably which suggests that she may be attracted to the fact that he is interested in her. "No, not a whit. I find you passing gentle....art pleasant, gamesome, passing courteous", however making compliments that he couldn't possibly believe to be true emphasizes his manipulative, deceptive character, which is a significant theme in the play. Dominating, and a clear figure of potency and aggressiveness, I believe that Petruchio represents men as a whole in society in this period. This is portrayed by the character Gremio who doesn't take into consideration Biancas emotions but lists off his possessions that she would gain from marrying him, "I have a hundred milch-kine to the pail", "My hangings all of tyrian tapestry". Gremio is also extremely disrespectful towards Kate at the beginning of the play as he states, "To cart her rather. She's too rough for me". Not reacting to this, Kates father Baptista I believe is another character who evidently doesn't take into account the feelings of his daughters or acts in order to benefit them fully. ...read more.

Conclusion

Petruchio even goes to the extent of abusing others who serve him, such as the tailor, in order to remind Kate that she will be next if she chooses to disobey him. I believe that this can only suggest one possible motive: that his aim is to accomplish full dominance and I cannot see any evidence that suggests that Petruchio's dominance actually liberates Kate, as in order to do so, his actions would have to benefit her. One critic stated, "Petruchio creates chaos in the central locations of marriage" and I further emphasize this statement as by taming Kate, Petruchio is forcing her to put on a false, dishonest attitude: an act of a misogynist bully. Suffering physically as deprived from sleep and food, Petruchio intends to silence her by being more shrew than she is however this is an act of someone who evidently benefits from being recognised as the authority. In the very first act of the play Petruchio states that he doesn't care what type of person he marries as long as they are wealthy, "Be she as foul as was Florentius' love, As old as Sibyl, and as curst and shrewd...." And this is exactly what he has done by marrying Kate , "I come to wive it wealthily in Padua". I believe that using an uncompromising desire to dominate, distinctly Petruchio aims to form a relationship in which he succeeds with the upper hand: a relationship that will benefit him with wealth and a wife who obeys and conforms to his demands. ?? ?? ?? ?? Katie Jackson 12MH ...read more.

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