Taming Of The Shrew Essay

1678 words - 7 pages

Katherina – Shrew or Not So Shrew?

According to Merriam-Webster (n.d.), a shrew can be defined as an unpleasant, bad-tempered woman. From the moment we are introduced to Katherina in Act I, Scene I, we see that she lives up to her reputation as a shrew through her exchange of words with her father when two suitors, Gremio and Hortensio, come to call upon Bianca for their wife. Baptista tells the two gentlemen not to look at his youngest daughter, before he has a husband for his elder daughter. He asks the gentlemen if either of them love Katherina. Gremio states “To cart her rather. She’s too rough for me.” (Shakespeare, trans. 2009, 1.1.55-56). Katherina sharply responds to her ...view middle of the document...

In addition, the fact that Kate did not have a mother figure robbed her of the opportunity to be taught how to behave as a woman, what was expected of her, and to see an example of a relationship between a man and his wife. “On one hand, Katherina who lacks a mother figure, in unable and unwilling to succumb to her obviously forced upon gender role. On the other hand, Bianca who is also missing a mother figure gladly puts on the stifling face of her gender role. Both sisters deal with this maternal void in different ways, but both are arguably and equally affected.” (Drury, n.d.).

Another possibility is Kate’s jealousy toward her sister on many counts. It could be construed that Kate is jealous of that fact that Bianca has many suitors and Kate herself has none; jealous of the difference in their reputation; i.e., Kate’s reputation is not good as she has been nicknamed “Kate the curst” as stated by Gremio (Shakespeare, trans.2009, 1.2.124), while Bianca is looked upon as beautiful, sweet, and lady-like, evidenced when Hortensio states “for in Baptista’s keep my treasure is. He hath the jewel of my life in hold, his youngest daughter, beautiful Bianca” (Shakespeare, trans. 2009, 1.2.113-115), and lastly, her father’s favoritism toward Bianca, which is evidenced when Kate, dragging her sister, hands tied, trying to get her to state who she loves best, Bianca states neither, Kate starts to beat her. Baptista hearing what is going on, run to Bianca’s rescue tells Kate to stop and leave her alone. Kate responds; "What, will you not suffer me? Nay, now I see she is your treasure, she must have a husband. I must dance barefoot on her wedding day and for your love to her lead apes in hell. Talk not to me, I will go sit and weep till I can find occasion for revenge.” (Shakespeare, trans. 2009, 2.1.31-35).

Kate meets Petruchio and is quick to put him his place, when he states that he is moved to woo thee for his wife. She responds with “Moved? In good time. Let him that moved you hither remove you hence. I knew you at the first you were movable.” (Shakespeare, trans. 2009, 2.1.192-194). Their fiery exchange of words continues back and forth, ending with Petruchio stating “Thy beauty that doth make me like thee well, thou must be married to no man but me.” (Shakespeare, trans. 2009, 2.1.266, 267).
We first start to see a transformation of Kate in Act 2 when Petruchio states “That upon Sunday is the wedding day.” (Shakespeare, trans. 2009, 2.1.290), Kate’s first reaction is to state “I’ll see thee hanged on Sunday first.” (Shakespeare, trans. 2009, 2.1.291), however, Kate says nothing after Petruchio states why he has chosen to marry her, and that he won her over when they were alone and concludes with “Sunday comes apace, we will have rings, and things and fine array, and kiss me Kate, we will be married a Sunday.” (Shakespeare, trans. 2009, 2.1.314-316). Did Petruchio really start to tame her? I believe it was a...

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