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How Does Shakespeare Establish the Character of Katherina?

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From Act I, scene I to end of Act II scene I Shakespeare wishes us to have his opinion of the personality of the main character, Katherina, as soon as her character is introduced. I think personally that Shakespeare wants us to feel temporarily sorry for Katherina. Much of the time she is provoked by people whose opinions are important to her, particularly her father, Baptista. She has a vile temper and I think that when Baptista makes an insulting comment, such as when Baptista calls her 'Thou hilding of a devilish spirit' Literally meaning 'You are an evil, worthless creature' It is more than likely that she will be upset about this. She replies to Baptista by saying 'She is your treasure, she must have a husband'. I feel sympathetic towards Katherina at this point. Her character is obviously focused on the fact that that she is bad tempered so provocations such as open favouritism over her sister by her father are not necessary if he wants to improve her attitude. ...read more.


Later on, she is described as 'Katherine the curst. A title for a maid of all titles the worst.' This strengthens the idea that Katherina is a dreadful girl. Grumio has described her to Petruchio as curst and as the worst girl you could possibly meet. Petruchio has the idea that he is destined to tame this 'wild creature'. In response, probably shocked about this Grumio asks him 'Will you woo this wildcat?' This is another of the many and frequent insults that Katherina gets about her distinguished fiery temper. Shakespeare makes it very clear that Baptista favours Bianca over Katherina. In the scene where we see Katherina tying up Bianca's hands then Baptista entering and finding Bianca in tears, although he is naturally angry with her Katherina, he is particularly cold towards Katherina and takes pity on Bianca. When Petruchio calls at the house of Baptista, he calls her 'Katherina, fair and virtuous'. Baptista replies coldly 'I have a daughter'. ...read more.


This is because, naturally she is jealous of Bianca. For example she calls Bianca a 'minion'. This means 'pampered favourite'. This is a constant accusation by Katherina. I do not personally disagree she is definitely the favourite, not that it is not difficult to see why! Katherina's reactions are always exaggerated and dramatised. Shakespeare portrays her reactions to what people say as normally being rude and coarse. It is obvious from the book that she is definitely not very pretty. Bianca appears to be very beautiful as she has a number of suitors disguising themselves to woo her. In Conclusion to this, Katherina's character is established both quickly and definitely. Everything about her character from her actual reactions to what people say about her and how they talk of her. I think one of the key things Shakespeare does to establish just how 'curst' she is, is her own father giving her no respect and being offensive to her. He has established Katherina's character and has managed to do this successfully and in every way possible. ...read more.

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