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The Taming of the Shrew.

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Introduction

On face value the last line of The Taming of the Shrew, concludes the story of the bitter taming of Katharina a spirited woman, by the chauvinist Petruchio however there are many subtle indications in the play to suggest that the female protagonist, Katharina Minola is in fact not tamed. The last line acts as a rhetorical question inviting the audience to reflect upon the central themes of mistaken identities and psychological disguises in the play when deciding on whether Katharina has simply changed her shrewish exterior instead. There is even evidence to suggest that not only is Katharina not tamed but that the relationship between the hawk and hunter is ironically a partnership based on interdependency and mutual agreements. The last line of The Taming of the Shrew is an excellent summary of a typical Elizabethan males' view on women and marriage as well as being a clever remark upon the more enigmatic themes of appearances versus reality and public behaviour versus private behaviour. ...read more.

Middle

The line, "Husband, let's follow to see the end of this ado" (134 Act 5 Scene 1) demonstrates that Katharina has not lost all her freedom, as the idea of a taming suggests but rather that she is still capable of suggesting the route of action that should be taken. Petruchio does not try to destroy Katharina's high spirits but instead he teaches Kate to express her emotions in a different manner so for life for her can run more smoothly. This idea of compromise in marriage and life is evident when Petruchio agrees to go to the banquet on the condition that Katharina kisses him, "First kiss me Kate and we will" (116 Act 5 Scene 1). The final scene is often said to signify the true defeat of woman in a patriarchal society however a closer analysis of Katharina's obedience speech suggests that she is not truly tamed but masquerading under the illusion of being so to advance her own desires. ...read more.

Conclusion

Petruchio trusts Kate with his money as he was insulted by the initial twenty crown wager, "I'll venture so much of my hawk or hound, but twenty times so much upon my wife" (71-73 Act 5 Scene 2). When Petruchio demands that Katharina, "Tell these headstrong women, what duty they do owe their lords and husband" (130-131 Act 5 Scene 2) he is staking his reputation on Katharina as well as giving her the opportunity of powering over the other ladies. The illusion of Petruchio being in control, when the couple worked together to trick the world around them is expressed in Lucentio's last line. In conclusion it can be seen that Lucentio's dumbfounded last line has expertly summarised the ironies of the play and has brought to light the final question of Katharina's taming for the audience to judge. The last line is ironically true to The Taming of the Shrew's central theme of reality versus illusion. ...read more.

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