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Relationship Of Petruchio And Katherina In William Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew

1960 words - 8 pages

Relationship of Petruchio and Katherina in William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew

"The Taming of the Shrew" by William Shakespeare is a humorous play
which focuses on Petruchio and Katherina's relationship. It explores
ideas of marriage including the impact of money in surrounding
characters lives. This creates ideal opportunities for dramatic
impact, which will vary in effect on the Elizabethan, and modern day
audiences especially when various dilemmas are presented. Shakespeare
uses a range of devices in order to achieve this.

Before Petruchio and Katherina meet, the audience is already aware of
the characters attitudes towards life and has thoughts of a fiery
first encounter between the two. Since arriving in Padua, Petruchio's
aim is to "wife and thrive" and thus becoming wealthy. This would come
as to no surprise to an Elizabethan audience as they freely accepted
that the principal of marriage was often financial. The use of rhyme
is suggestive of a jolly mood for Petruchio, which implies he is very
optimistic regarding his future in Padua. Some people today would not
approve of a male so arrogant and his attitude would not be accepted
in today's society as easily. Katherina is described by Hortensio as
"intolerable" "shrewd" and "forward" echoing other people's thoughts
in doing so. These adjectives provide the audience with evidence that
Katherina is very strong willed and she will not accept Petruchio
without a fight. This makes the audience eager to discover what will
happen when they first meet and creates a sense of excitement and
uncertainty.

To add to the tension, both characters display many similarities. Both
show signs of high intelligence and treat others with little respect.
Petruchio makes reference to "Socrates Xanthippe" and his adventures
on the "Adriatic seas" comparing them both to Katherina suggesting all
are equally as rough. Petruchio's intelligence is shown as he makes
the comparison to a well-established shrew and his strength is
confirmed implying he will be more than able to cope with Katherina.
Shakespeare equips Katherina with equal attributes. Her strength is
made known to the audience when she ties up her sister and hits her
music teacher over the head. This leaves the audience wondering who
will be the dominant person in the relationship and which one will
eventually back down and give in.

The first meeting between the two central characters includes the use
of quick-witted responses and puns within the dialogue. In a recent
film "Ten things I hate about you" this scene was set in a paintball
arena comparing shots and reflexes to the ability to out wit the
opponent. Katherina asks, "What is your crest?" Petruchio responds "A
combless cock, so Kate will be my hen". Petruchio quickly reverses the
question implying a sexual tone in...

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