William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew
In the beginning of “The Taming of the Shrew”, some say Shakespeare portrays Katherina as a very shrewish figure. Others may argue that she is not shrewish but just a very strong willed person. At the end of the play some people say she is transformed into a very kind and gentle person, while again others will argue that she is not “tamed” but just putting on an act to “show up” her younger sister Bianca, whom has always been more beautiful and charming. Kate is “like a wasp, like a foal, like foal that kicks from his halter; pert, quick and determined, but full of good heart.” 1. This statement made by one author, shows clearly that he does not see her as shrew-like, even at the beginning of the play. The same author states that at the end of the play she has not really transformed, rather she has just fallen in love with Petruchio, in essence she is free from torment because she is no longer seen as the shrew.
In the beginning of the play Kate is “consistently in opposition to everything around her”2, meanwhile “Bianca obeys so gently and with such sweet submission that it is obvious why she is Baptista’s favorite daughter”2. In the end of the play, the roles switch and Katherina is submissive to every word of Petruchio and Bianca resists the commands of her new husband.
Kate’s first reaction to Petruchio, her “mad wooer”, is self-pity, and even her father feels that his treatment of her would “vex a saint”. He takes her away from the home she is used to, with servants and maids to wait on her hand and foot, to the country. There she is away from the luxurious town life and is cold, hungry and tired. She somewhat learns to watch her temper and obey Petruchio so that he will feed her so she can survive peacefully rather than miserably. I believe that his method of taming her is not cruel yet very effective. He shows her that she can get much farther and live life a lot happier if she is nice and “entreats” him rather than fighting him.
One author (pattern in carpet) says that Shakespeare sees Katherine and Petruchio as in love at first sight. He says that their fights are partly like a game and partly a matter of egoism. He sees Katherine as “testing” Petruchio making sure he is “man” enough to put up with the worst of her and prove to be the husband she requires. Petruchio accepts her challenge with delight (and to get Baptista’s money), passes all of her tests with ease and in fact does prove to be a suitable husband.
Petruchio starts to tame her from the very first time they meet. He stays calm when she yells and does exactly the opposite of what she expects him to do. He continues his taming at the wedding by acting even worse than she does, and in a way, he paints a portrait of her for her to see. He believes that if she sees the way she acts by repeating her actions, that she will want to change, to be more pleasant. I think she acts the way she does in...