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The taming of the shrew - Exploring Shakespeare's development of the relationship between Petruchio and Katherina

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Introduction

The Taming of the Shrew Coursework Exploring Shakespeare's development of the relationship between Petruchio and Katherina II i, III ii, IV iii, V ii In this play, the main characters are Petruchio, an arrogant and chauvinist male, and Katherina, a feisty and hostile female, or in other words, the shrew. The theme throughout the play is Petruchio trying to change Katherina from being quick tempered, to being a better wife who responds to his authority, and by doing this he does things such as starving her, and playing psychological games with her. Some may see this as a game of his to see if he can break her, and a way of adding another triumph and achievement to increase his ego. However although in some ways this could be the case, I believe that he winds her up in this way to release her anger so that he can assert his authority over her, and over time, as it is seen in the play, she does in fact respond to his power, and this is where we see the huge development between Petruchio and Katherina's relationship, going from disliking each other to having huge respect for one another. In Act II Scene i, Petruchio and Katherina meet for the first time. ...read more.

Middle

Along with the equal power they both possess, Katherina shows another motive of wanted to marry earlier on in the scene. She seems to be jealous of her sister Bianca because her father shows particular favouritism towards Bianca, and Bianca is known to be the pretty sister, and the one who has the most suitors. Katherina shows concern that she may be humiliated on her sisters wedding day, when she does not have a husband herself by saying, 'she must have a husband, /I must dance barefoot on her wedding day, /And for your love to her lead apes in hell'. These lines refer to what people said about unmarried women will have to lead apes into hell because they do not have any children. In Act III Scene ii Katherina changes her opinion on her desire to wed. At the beginning of the scene Baptista, Tranio and Katherina have a brief conversation where Katherina tells her father, Baptista, how she does not want to marry. She says, 'No shame but mine. I must, forsooth, be forced to give my hand, opposed my heart'. Even though her father then realises that she does not want to marry Petruchio, he still does nothing to stop it. Although, this part of the scene suggests she does not wish to marry, however when it comes to the wedding Katherina appears both upset and disappointed when she starts believing that Petruchio is not going to turn up. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that when summoned by Petruchio she came, but to make it even more surprising is that she managed to bring along Bianca and the widow, both of whom had before refused to come. It is somewhat ironic that the last speech of the play, and Katherina's longest speech is about how women should appreciate men and she is lecturing the other women about men working hard so they can give their wives what they want, when throughout the play she had had the complete opposite opinion. She says that a husband should be 'thy lord, thy king, thy governor', all of these things being important people in the social hierarchy, and so making her point of the importance of a husband. Katherina even offers to place her hands beneath Petruchio's feet in token of his duty; something that it is doubtful she would have done at the beginning of the play. Throughout the play there is also a use of imagery of hunting and animals and in Shakespearian times hunting was thought of as being aristocratic, particularly hawking (hunting using birds of prey). In the play Petruchio symbolises the hunter, and Katherina symbolises the hawk, so through this Katherina is seen as being inferior to Petruchio, as the hawk would be inferior to the hunter. Hunters would have to tame their hawk in similar ways which Petruchio tamed Katherina. ...read more.

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