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What do you consider to be the main reasons for Kate’s shrewish behaviour at the beginning of the play, and how far do you believe Kate’s position in the family and in her society to be responsible?

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Introduction

The Taming Of The Shrew Assignment What do you consider to be the main reasons for Kate's shrewish behaviour at the beginning of the play, and how far do you believe Kate's position in the family and in her society to be responsible? 'The Taming of the Shrew' is principally about the power of men over women in Elizabethan society, Kate is a prime example of this. Kate is born of a wealthy family; Baptista her father is a successful merchant. As with most well-off families Kate is totally dependant on her father. As Kate's father Baptista also has the legal power to dispose of his daughter how he wishes. This means Baptista has the legal authority to dictate who Kate might marry without taking any of her own opinions into consideration. Although this may appear harsh, there is little Kate can do about it; she is trapped. Kate cannot withdraw from her father's will as she will have no one to depend on. Kate's only way of escaping dependency on her father is to marry; her dependency will then be on her husband. According to Baptista's legal rights it is then perfectly acceptable for him to decree that Kate must be married as was conventional before Bianca. This way it gets Kate off his hands and out of the house. Secondly it is more likely that those looking to marry Bianca will work to find a partner for Kate. From an Elizabethan view this was quite acceptable to expect the older daughter to be married first. This vunerable position in society is definitely one of the factors for Kate's fury and scorn. Society also puts pressure on Kate to marry. In today's society marriage is often a lifestyle choice, as is having children; many middle class couples would rather not sacrifice their comfortable lifestyle for the pressures and expense of children. In Shakespeare's society women who did not marry until later were classed as 'on the shelf' and eventually, if they remained unmarried, became spinsters. ...read more.

Middle

He in this way disorientates Kate by working in such a rapid hurry that she does not have time to plot, back out or put him off. Kate is wooed and betrothed in one scene and married no less than one week later. When Petruchio first meets Baptista the dowry and marriage are agreed at great speed, Petruchio proposes this, 'Signor Baptista, my business asketh haste ...' and Baptista being all too ready to get Kate off his hands is only to happy to obilge with the pace set by Petuchio. However, despite Petruchio's sense of urgency and his fast pace even at this early stage of wooing where he has not even met Kate yet he is considering her welfare. No matter how badly he treats her, his long term aim is concern for her. 'And for that dowry I'll assure her of Her widowhood, be it that she survive me, In all my lands and leases whatsoever. Let specialities be therefore drawn between us, That covenants may be kept on either hand.' Before Petruchio even meets Kate and begins wooing he declares how he is going to win Kate over; 'woo her with some spirit'. Petruchio plans to turn everything that Kate says and does upside down, an attitude very difficult for even a shrew to fight with. He is going to pick a fight; having refused to judge Kate he wants to really find out about her character. Petruchio is himself considerably outrageous in his society and therefore not put off by her appearance or her curst tongue. In the 'Great Wooing Scene' Petruchio proves that whatever Kate does to be unpleasant he can do it twice as well, he will 'out-Kate' Kate. If she is curst and rude, he will be ruder still. If she is shocking, he will shock her more. In every sense Petruchio is more than prepared to be more obscene and more outrageous than Kate. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Well, come my Kate, we will unto your father's Even in these honest mean habiliments. Our purses shall be proud, our garments poor, For tis the mind that makes the body rich.' Here Petruchio is teaching Kate not to judge on appearances; he can see through Kate's unpleasantness that she is really nice. He is saying to Kate that appearances go beyond fine clothes and is trying to show her what a real moral personality is after being spoilt by fine clothes and wealth all her life. In final support of Petruchio his open love and affection for Kate are made clear several times in the final part of the play remarking, 'kiss me Kate,' 'why there's a wench,' Petruchio is clearly relishing the fact that he has succeeded in his intentions and made Kate a happier person, all for her own good as well as his. The obvious pride and faith in his wife are apparent when Petruchio challenges Hortensio to the wager and puts a large amount of money on her. 'Twenty crowns? I'll venture so much of my hawk or hound, But twenty times so much upon my wife.' In Kate's final speech bringing the play to a climax, she is articulating many Elizabethan commonplaces about marriage, yet appearing to spring directly from her own experience and feeling. She comes to the conclusion that husbands really ask very little of their wives and in order to look after them the husbands have to work hard so that the women are comfortable and warm at home. Kate admits that she used to want to have her own will, now she is saying that she is happier being obedient and faithful to her husband and that it is indeed her duty owed to him for taking care of her. Kate feels satisfied by her transition and Petruchio has triumphed over the other men. ?? ?? ?? ?? Gabby Smee ...read more.

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