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How does Katherina in 'The Taming Of The Shrew' change and develop as the play progresses?

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Introduction

Ryan Pow How does Katherina in 'The Taming Of The Shrew' change and develop as the play progresses? In this essay I am going to be studying the character of Katherina from William Shakespeare's play 'The Taming Of The Shrew'. Katherina is a fiery, bad-tempered, violent 'shrew' that nobody likes. Men are petrified of her! Her sister Bianca has a great number of suitors and all the male attention. This includes her father who clearly favours Bianca. We first meet Kate in Act one, Scene one, L.50-54. Her father states that no one shall marry his youngest daughter (Bianca) until he finds a husband for Kate. 'To cart her rather! She's too rough for me.' Says Gremio, L.55, in response to Baptista's suggestion about finding a suitor for Kate, L.48-54. This obviously shows he doesn't like her much if he feels she should be treated like a prostitute, Hortensio then says, L.59-60, 'No mates for you unless you were of a gentler milder mould.' Obviously Gremio isn't the only one who believes she is too 'rough'. Katherina then speaks and we begin to understand why these men aren't too fond of her temper. '...to comb your noddle with a three-legg'd stool and paint your face and use you like a fool.' (L.64-65) She says she is going to hit him on the head with a stool and paint his face with blood. She is living up to her reputation! It seems first impressions aren't in Kate's favour as Tranio, who has only known Kate a few minutes, comments, 'That wrench is stark mad, or wonderful forward.' (L.69) He is saying she is bad-tempered. Maybe another reason for Kate's bad temper is because of her jealousy over her sister? She has all the suitors, she is beautiful and it would appear that Baptista favours her. '...and let it not displease thee, good Bianca, for I will love thee ne'er the less, my girl.' ...read more.

Middle

After a long time of waiting Petruchio finally arrives. Kate and Baptista are horrified and completely humiliated - Petruchio is drunk and dressed in an old shabby outfit. It would have been better if he hadn't turned up at all. 'To me she's married, not unto my clothes.' Says Petruchio, L.111. This is true but obviously he has a reason for dressing the way he has. In my opinion this is the beginning of his plan to tame her. By embarrassing her in front of everyone it shows he is the one who is in charge, not her. Gremio then describes the wedding to us. Surprisingly he claims that Kate is '...a lamb, a dove, a fool...' (L.151) compared to Petruchio. Gremio's feelings have obviously changed since the first act when it was him who referred to her as a devil. We then move onto the wedding feast. Petruchio tells everyone that him and his new wife won't be able to stay as he is in a hurry to return home. Kate doesn't like this though. She 'entreats' him to stay and says, L.199, 'Now, if you love me, stay.' She blackmails him. Surprisingly she doesn't hit him or insult him. When Petruchio still insists on going and ignores her, she gets angry. 'Nay then, do what thou canst, I will not go today! No, nor tomorrow--not till I please myself!' (L.200-2003) She's gone back to her fiery usual self. Kate is showing self-control and that she is in charge, not Petruchio. In the end he drags her off anyway, kicking and screaming. The next scene (Act four, scene one) is set at Petruchio's house. Kate is miserable and in a state. She fell of her house on the way to the house and is soaking wet and muddy. Petruchio's servants have cooked him and his new wife a meal. This is where the beginning of Kate's taming really begins. ...read more.

Conclusion

The actress was also small and I had imagined Kate to be quite well built and sturdy. Her height also made her less intimidating. Her appearance wasn't the only let down, her acting was also very unbelievable and not 'shrew' like at all. Kate was meant to experience this huge transformation, but I didn't see it. She was very monotonous from beginning to end. Next we saw an animated version. This was much better than the theatre production. Kate had long, red hair, was quite tall and was dressed in fairly rich clothes, unlike in the first where she was dressed like a peasant. She was very violent, rude and was the perfect shrew! Her speech was snappy as well, which made her character even better. Like in the first production though I didn't see much of a transformation from beginning to end, her voice changed and was much 'softer' but her actions towards Petruchio didn't change really. Despite it being an animation and it probably being hard to show affections, I still think they could have made it more realistic. Her clothes and appearance did help make her more believable, but the love wasn't real enough. The third interpretation was a film. This was definitely the best out of the three; Kate's portrayal was perfect in my opinion. She had long, jet black, curly hair and very sharp, violet coloured eyes. This made her very fierce looking and helped bring the realism of her character to a whole new level, you could believe she was actually Kate. She was also dressed very smartly and looked like a princess. Her personality was exactly right too, she was fiery, insane, scary...almost witch-like. She was evil! The transformation was incredible also, just like in the text. She went from being this wild 'shrew' like demon to a kind, polite, caring human. The love between Petruchio and Kate was very genuine and convincing so if you didn't have time to read the text then this would definitely be the best version to watch. ...read more.

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