Kate Controls Her Own Actions in William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew
Who is primarily in control of Kate's actions in William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew? Is Kate primarily controlling her actions, or do other characters in the play control her? If you just read through the play, but don't study it in-depth, it appears that Kate is controlled by other characters' actions towards her, but is this actually the case? Isn't it very possible that Kate is actually in control of all her decisions, but is just strongly influenced by others? After studying the text in-depth, you can see for yourself that although Kate is strongly influenced by others, she is the one who actually makes the decisions to act in the manner in which she acts.
As was stated, although Kate, in many instances, appears to be controlled by others, she is actually in control of her actions. She is the one who does everything, such as allowing herself to be married off to Petruchio. Some people may say that she was forced to marry Petruchio, but she could have just run away if she really hadn't wanted to marry him. In this instance, Kate's family, especially her father Baptista, and society were influencing Kate to make the choice to not run away and follow through with the marriage. In the end, though, this was Kate's decision - no one made it for her, she had to make it for herself. She had the ability to choose to run away or do something else about being forced to marry Petruchio. Kate was already considered a shrew and often did not let society's roles for men and women influence her: Why couldn't she have done the same in this instance?
Another instance in which it may seem to some people reading the play that Kate is being controlled by others occurs when Petruchio insists that the sun is the moon - "Pet: Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!/Kate: The moon! The sun: it is not moonlight now./Pet: I say it is the moon that shines so bright." (4.5.2-4). Petruchio first called the sun the moon and Kate argued with him because it was obviously the sun (at the time, they were on their way to Baptista's house), but Petruchio insisted that it was the moon. Kate finally agreed, "I know it is the moon that shines so bright" (4.5.5). People just reading through the play and not studying it would say that Petruchio is controlling Kate by making her agree with him. I don't think this is so - Kate most likely just gets sick of arguing with Petruchio because she can tell he will continue to insist that the sun is the moon. If you think about your childhood, there is probably at least one example of a time you were arguing with a friend of yours about something and neither of you wanted to give up and let the other person "win" the argument, but eventually, one of you gives in. The reason Kate might be so quick to give in this time is because she knows Petruchio is trying to tame her and that she won't be able to get anywhere with him. Petruchio tells her...