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The Taming of the Shrew - Was Katherina really tamed?

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Introduction

The Taming of the Shrew - Was Katherina really tamed? Upon completing reading The Taming of the Shrew mine, and probably many other people's, answer to this question was an immediate yes, Pertruchio had 'tamed' Katherina (Kate), reducing her to a subservient slave with little will of her own. This was largely due to the vastly different attitudes Kate expresses throughout the play. Before going to live with Pertruchio, Kate is very strong-minded and will not allow anyone, especially Pertruchio, to be the boss of her. "I see a woman may be made a fool, If she had not a spirit to resist." The speech made by Kate at the end of the play portrays her as being a completely different person; her attitudes are seemingly reversed. "Such duty as the subject owes the prince Even such a woman oweth to her husband...." However, upon further analysis of the character of Kate this view becomes more and more absurd. The main reason I question whether or not Kate is truly tamed is that the change itself is so rapid and so utterly complete. One minute Kate is still resisting and almost insulting Pertruchio by scorning a gift to her; "I never saw a better-fashion'd gown, More quaint, more pleasing, nor more commendable: Belike you mean to make a puppet of me." ...read more.

Middle

The first dramatic turning point of Kate's character development comes when she first meets Pertruchio (Act 2, Scene 1) and the subsequent wedding (Act 3, Scene 2). Naturally, Pertruchio is a very important character when discussing the taming of Kate, as he is the one to carry out the supposed taming. Previous scenes show Pertruchio to be just as outspoken and disruptive as Kate, if not more so. However, due to social attitudes at the time Pertruchio would actually have been respected for his 'manliness' whereas Kate is merely ridiculed and shunned. Therefore it seems that if anyone were to tame Kate, Pertruchio would be the man to do it. He makes it clear to everyone, that he has "come to wive it wealthily in Padua" and even announces to Baptista that "everyday I cannot come to woo". Despite the fact attitudes at the time fully expected a woman to be courted and 'wooed' before marriage, Baptista does not seem to care. Again, this ill treatment of Kate makes us sympathise with her, which in turn enforces the theory that it is lack of love which makes Kate a shrew. The odd thing is that once Pertruchio marries Kate, he has his money, why does he still insist on taming her? ...read more.

Conclusion

However, although it may seem Pertruchio is controlling Kate in this scene, I think Pertruchio and Kate have subconsciously accepted their feelings for each other and are now combining their wit against others, in this case an old man they meet on the road. "HORTENSIO: A' will make the man mad, to make a woman of him. KATHARINA: Young budding virgin, fair and fresh and sweet, Whither away, or where is thy abode? Happy the parents of so fair a child; Happier the man, whom favourable stars Allot thee for his lovely bed-fellow! PETRUCHIO: Why, how now, Kate! I hope thou art not mad: This is a man, old, wrinkled, faded, wither'd, And not a maiden, as thou say'st he is." Because of this evidence, I think that Kate's final speech is merely an act between herself and Pertruchio to gain victories over their foes. There is no way Kate could have changed so completely. Granted, the speech does seem a little extreme but Kate and Pertruchio are extreme people who will do anything to achieve their goals. They both benefit from this relationship in the end, Kate has shamed her sister, Pertruchio has his money, but most importantly they now have each other. Kate has been tamed to an extent by her love for Pertruchio, and vice versa. ...read more.

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