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Katherine And Bianca Of The Taming Of The Shrew

1517 words - 7 pages

Katherine and Bianca of The Taming of the Shrew


        The Taming of the Shrew brings out the comedic side of Shakespeare

where irony and puns carry the play throughout.  In my paper, I will

concentrate on one the irony of the play, the introduction of the two

sisters.  These two sisters begin off with the elder, Katherine, viewed as

a shrew, and Bianca as the angelic younger of the two.  However, as the

play proceeds, we begin to see the true sides of the two sisters and their

roles totally turn around.  I will try to analyze the method in which

Shakespeare introduces the two sisters and how he hints ...view middle of the document...


  The shrew is not a shrew at all beneath the surface.


        The play begins introducing Katherine with her father's words of

shame towards her when he offers his eldest daughter to the two suitors of

Bianca.  The audience is then given their first impression of Katherine

from the Gremio, a suitor of Bianca, right after her father's words when he

says: "To cart her, rather. She is too rough for me." (Act 1, Scene 1, 55)

From here, Katherine is given the image of a turbulent, "curst and shrewd"

character.  She talks back to her father with total disrespect and shows

her temper to the company around her.  However, understanding her position,

one does begin to sympathize with her as in a public place, where such

passersby as Tranio and Lucentio can easily overhear, Baptisa informs

Bianca's suitors that he will not allow either of them to marry his younger

daughter until a husband is found for Katherine.  In effect, he is

announcing that he wants Katherine off his hands.  He then offers her to

either of Bianca's suitors.  Katherine humiliation at this point mus t be

extreme; she is discussed on a public street like an article of merchandise,

which her father is unable to get rid of, and then offered nonchalantly to

a pair of suitors who have already expressed their preference for her

sister.  Her image as a shrew takes a step back.


        Apparently gentle in her behavior, Bianca is an unkind sister and a

disobedient wife.  She fosters her father's attitude of favoritism for

herself and dislike for Katherine by playing the part of a noble victim.

Her disregard for Lucentio's wishes as a newlywed leads to grim speculation

as to what her behavior may be when they have been married longer.

Ironically, as the play ends, she is more of a shrew than her sister.


      We first see impressions of Bianca when she 'humbly' takes leave

from the awkward situation of her sister arguing about the preferential

treatment her father gives.  (Act 1, Scene 1 81-84)  She is given this

divine image as bystanders like Lucentio speak words of: "O yes, I saw

sweet beauty in her face, Such as the daughter of Agenor had".  This give

the audience (those that do not know the content of the play) the

misconception that Bianca will be the more glorified of the two and maybe

as an example for he taming of Katherine.  However, as the play evolves, we

begin to see clues to the person under the sheep's clothes as Bianca

constantly takes advantage of her father's favoritism and has no regard to

her sister's feelings and emotions.  She is slowly seen as a witless, yet

cunning person that cares only for herself.  In the first scene of Act 2

where Katherine ties up Bianca, she is...

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