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Taming of the shrew

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Introduction

How does Petruchio attempt to tame his wife in act four scene one? Do you think? He is successful and Katerina is truly subdued by the plays conclusion? William Shakespeare wrote the play The Taming of the Shrew in the 1590's. In these times it was popular in Elizabethan England to ridicule Catholics. The Italian setting allows the playwright to snipe at Italian Catholics for comic effect. It is a comical play in contrast to a number of Shakespeare's other works, which are classed as historical or tragedy. It is a story within a story. The background plot is about a drunken man who is made to believe he is a lord after being thrown out of the pub one night. The second and main story is about the shrew, Katherina. The label of a shrew is given to Katherina because she is constantly nagging and moaning at people in Padua. This connects her with a Shrew because these mammals make a sexual whining noise during the mating season. This is one of the many sexual innuendos we are given throughout the play, making it comical for both an Elizabethan and modern audience. ...read more.

Middle

The food is plated and brought to the table, appearing to be a lovely piece of mutton from Catherine's point of view. However, from Petruchio's 'twas burnt and dried away'. It was fine but for some reason Petruchio is acting strangely and not allowing Katherina to eat. As the servant clears the meat, Petruchio trips him again making more work for the servants. He is killing 'her in her own humour' (as noted by Peter). Basically Petruchio is doing to others what Katherina used to do to, allowing her to experience the consequences of such actions. He's giving her a taste of her own medicine. Shakespeare uses juxtaposition here, with Petruchio being kind and considerate to Katherina while he is repeatedly being horrible to the servants. In the process of Petruchio being cruel to the servants, he is also depriving Katherina of vital wants and needs like sleep and food. The way Petruchio acts is unusual and Katherina doesn't seem to like it. She tries to protect the servants - 'patience I pray you' - begging Petruchio to take it easy on his servants. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bianca also reveals a rude and abusive side to her character again questioning the men like the widow. This is a contrast to her supposedly being pure. 'I mean to shift my bush'. Her language has sexual connotations. The women are tested to see their obedience to their husbands and for once Katherina has come out as the most obedient, the most 'tamed'. She came straight to her master unlike the other two mistresses. 'Love, fair looks true obedience'. Katherina has just proved to the other couples that she is now playing the correct role of a wife. Loving and willing to adhere to her husband's every need. As if Katherina hasn't proved herself enough, she goes and rubs salt into the other women's wounded pride 'my mind hath been as big as one of yours'. This acknowledges she has previously acted as a misguided shrew but has since changed her act. I believe Petruchio has tamed Katherina. Initially I didn't believe he had managed and thought she was just putting on an act in front of her new household, but when she acknowledges her behaviour (in her final speech) I believe she has changed. All the effort Petruchio's put in throughout the play had paid off and he finally tamed the shrew. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ben Buchan ...read more.

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