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To What Extent is Katherina Tamed by the End of the Play?

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Introduction

To What Extent is Katherina Tamed by the End of the Play? When I first began to read 'The Taming of the Shrew' I had no prior knowledge of the play and so approached each word of the text with a fresh and anticipating outlook. My curiosity to the plays content was initially sparked by the title; due to my ignorance of Elizabethan vocabulary I was unaware of the meaning of 'shrew' in this sense, and assumed the play would follow the trails and tribulations of a man perfecting a rodent novelty act. Much to my disappointment I discovered that this was not the case when I became aware of the second definition for 'shrew', which remains in the dictionary to date and is described as: 'a bad-tempered unpleasant woman'. Upon the completion of the play it also occurred to me, with Shakespeare's lack of stage direction both for the actors and staging, that just as I had done with the title, it would be possible for an individual's interpretation of events within the play itself, to be profoundly different to that of another reader. In my essay I will attempt to evaluate a number of different interpretations of Katherina's 'taming' and aim to explore the difference between a 'tamed' Katherina and simply a 'changed' Katherina, if indeed there is a difference. ...read more.

Middle

This could be seen as them enjoying each others company and using it as an entertaining game, later in the play we see further evidence that they may perhaps share the same humour and enjoy poetically insulting each other or attempting to humiliate each other. When Petruchio's taming progresses out of Padua, Petruchio begins to shoe Katherina that her shrewish behaviour will not cut any ice with him displayed via proxy in Grumio's speech when he enter's his master's house describing the journey to Curtis. He tells of 'how he left her with the horse upon her', 'how she waded through the dirt' and 'how she prayed that have never prayed before'. And that is where Petruchio's ritual cruelty just begins. Once at the house he deprives her of food (Act 4 scene 1 line 135), sleep (Act 4 Scene 3 Line 9) and her desired outfit (Act 4 Scene 3 Line 60 onwards). By the time the couple set out once more - this time back to Padua to attend Bianca's wedding - Katherina has felt the full force of Petruchio's taming. She maybe aware, by now, of the taming or it could be perceived that she has learnt to combat his stratagem or at least, however unwillingly, accepted it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Depending on how these to words are delivered is crucial to the statements meaning. If Katherina were to utter the 'nay' with an amount of contempt and annoyance finishing the 'love' portion of the statement with a digree of sarcasm, then again we would assume it is still essentially the same Katherina, just a slightly more co-operative one. She would just give him a peck to move them on their way so they could get to the wedding and eat. This would go back to what I said earlir about Katherina. If the entire Statement were said with some genuine love and passion we may believe her to have been tamed, be in love with Petruchio or mocking him with an unusually sweet tone. It may even appear she is acting as a woman tamed and has developed a new way of manipulating people as opposed to her earlier method I touched on at the start of my essay. I believe this last point to be true as I cannot imagine Katherina to have become tamed in such a short space of time nor could I see her deliberately mocking or displaying annoyance at him, for fear of Petruchio's wrath. For me it has to be clever, cunning Katherina up to her old tricks again. Tom Savage ...read more.

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