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Can the shrew of act 1 scene 2 credibly be tamed to become the loyal wife of act 5 scene 2? How does Shakespeare make the transformation of Katherine believable? How could language and staging be used to convey this?

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Introduction

Can the shrew of act 1 scene 2 credibly be tamed to become the loyal wife of act 5 scene 2? How does Shakespeare make the transformation of Katherine believable? How could language and staging be used to convey this? The taming of the shrew is a play within a play. In the induction a drunken beggar called sly has a trick played on him by a Lord. When Sly awakes from his drunken sleep those around him pretend that he is a Lord. He is given a wife and together they watch a play. This fact has to be remember through all of the taming of the shrew. It is actually being performed in England by English strolling players as a comedy. The story of this play within a play is about Katherine, a rude shrewish unmarried women. When she is married to Petruchio he sets about trying to tame her into a good wife. In a short while she is tamed from a rough, rude, bitter and angry women into a loving, submissive, and obedient wife. We can trace Katherine's change through the play by looking at quotes said by her or by others around her. At the beginning of the play we are told by gremio that 'she's too rough for me'. Soon after Katherine is described by Tranio as 'that wench is stark mad, or wonderful forward.' However, when Petruchio meets her he tells Katherine 'thou art pleasant, gamesone, passing courteous.' ...read more.

Middle

When the wedding occurs Katherine and Petruchio have only met once. This meeting did not go well. Petruchio and Katherine engaged in a word fight, which surprised Katherine as usually the men around her ignored her comments, while Petruchio argued back. In this meting Petruchio told Katherine plainly what he was going to do. He did not try and persuade her in any way but told her she would be tamed 'from a wild Kate to a Kate conformable to other household Kate's'. Katherine does not fight against this, showing that she does actually want to be tamed into a nicer, more happy person. Later on, when Petruchio says 'we will be married on Sunday', she stays silent and does not disagree, showing she does want to be married, as she is scared of becoming an old spinster. At the wedding Katherine is on time, as she is eager now to be married. Petruchio is late however and this lateness makes Katherine feel very humiliated as she has been left alone on her wedding day. This is how Petruchio shows her how bad it feel to be humiliated by someone else, something she often does to other people. When Petruchio does show up he is wearing very strange clothes, which embarrasses Katherine, just as she has embarrassed others. Petruchio says that it is enough for him to be here, and that no-one cares about clothes that much. When he promises to explain further he means he will one day tell everyone about his taming idea and how he did it. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is like a bribe to make her do what he wants, as otherwise she won't get the clothes she so desires. This makes Katherine angry, showing that she is still not fully tamed. Her passionate plea for fair treatment 'My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart will break concealing it' is ignored by the men, while Petruchio pretends she said something else and continues the conversation like she has not said anything. On the way back to her house she finally realises what she has to do to make Petruchio happy. She agrees with him that it is night-time when in fact it Is daylight. At his command she greets and old man like he is a young child. She only does and says what Petruchio wants her to do, but Shakespeare shows she is happy and content like this. At the end of the play Katherine tells the other wives how to be a good obedient wife. Of course this is only done on Petruchio command. She tells the other woman that 'they are bound to serve, love and obey'. The independent Katherine of earlier scenes has been taken over completely by this humble wife, and Petruchio shows his pleasure by giving her a kiss. The change was credible, especially if the taming scenes are taken into account. We know that Katherine is speaking the truth in the final speech as she has previously said that she always speaks her mind truthfully. This means that she believes in everything she says in the final speech and she has truly changed. ...read more.

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