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How does Shakespeare present the characters of Katherina and Petruchio so that we understand the title of the play 'Taming of the shrew'?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare present the characters of Katherina and Petruchio so that we understand the title of the play 'Taming of the shrew'? In my essay, I am going to try and show my understanding and knowledge of how Shakespeare presents Katherina and Petruchio throughout the novel, and how this makes us understand the title of 'Taming of the shrew'. I will show how their relationship changes throughout the novel as the 'taming' process of Katherina progresses, and the ways in which we see how she is tamed. The novel 'The taming of the shrew' is set in 16th century Elizabethan England. This was a time when marriages were very important, and most upper class marriages often arranged for money or power rather than love or meaning. Women were expected to wait on their husbands every need and desire. They were expected to be kind and gentle and do whatever their husband wanted. 'The taming of the shrew' is one of Shakespeare's comedies and so throughout the novel we see a lot of slapstick humour, witty remarks and comments between characters. In my essay I will show how as the taming of Katherina progresses, the humour also changes along with her. ...read more.

Middle

In this event, Shakespeare presents the characters in a very humorous way, with the witty arguments and fighting. I think this shows how much of a joke the idea of Petruchio wanting to marry Katherina seems. However, he is determined to tame her, and takes on the challenge. In act 3 scene 2, it is the wedding of Petruchio and Katherina. Everyone is ready and waiting, but Petruchio is late. Katherina isn't used to being treated like this and is obviously very embarrassed by being stood up. This however, is all part of Petruchio's plan to tame her. When he finally does arrive, he isn't civil to her, and embarrasses her more at the alter. He acts like Katherina usually acts, to give her a taste of her own medicine. Again all part of his plan to tame her, by showing her what she usually acts like and how unacceptable it is. During this time she is slowly becoming tamed, the humour is also slowly becoming more subtle and less frequent. This can relate to her personality, which is slowly becoming more calmed and acceptable. Act 4, the 'taming' act. During this act is where we really see Petruchio taming Katherina. It is after the wedding at Petruchio's country house. There was a fine feast ready for Petruchio and Katherina. ...read more.

Conclusion

The widow being there is also to show the contrast of how Katherina used to be and how she is now, and to show what a difference there is. Katherina is proved to be tamed when the men joke about who's wife is the most obedient. They have a contest to see which one will come down when they are sent for by their husbands. Katherina is the first one down. In a speech she then tells the other two wives of how they should obey their husband's requests and how although she has been strong and powerful, there was no need for she is now beautiful on the inside and she realises she doesn't have to be aggressive and nasty to be noticed and respected. She speaks of how women should fulfil their roles that they are assigned. Katherina has been tamed. Throughout the novel we saw a huge contrast of what Katherina used to be like and what she has become, thanks to Petruchio's clever planning and methods. Shakespeare shows Katherina being tamed throughout the humour change in the novel. At the start it was full of humour and sarcasm whereas at the end, it is far more subtle and calm. These ways really help us to understand the taming of Katherina, and 'The taming of the shrew'. ...read more.

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