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Shakespeare's play's Taming of the Shrew female lead, Katherine by answering the question that whether she was eventually tamed or not. The Works Cited four sources in MLA format.
Character Analysis of Katherine
Taming The Shrew by William Shakespeare is a comedy play tactfully and purposely divided into five entertaining acts (Plot Structure). The induction highlights the possible reasons for the play's existence followed by an introduction all the characters playing a vital role in developing the theme of the play and the development of the gist of the story, in the first act (Plot Structure). The taming (the main purpose of the play) of the female lead begins in the Act II and III with Katherine getting married to Petruchio. The climactic act is the act IV when the aim of cultivating and changing Kate to a productive human being is accomplished (Plot Structure). The final Act V establishes the connection and creates harmony between all the characters of the play and brings forward the implied meaning of Katherine's portrayal (Plot Structure) as a shrew.
The play Taming the Shrew is one of the best plays ever written by Shakespeare, appending a well defined and a unique moral for his viewers. Katherine or Kate is the plays female protagonist with the entire play as well as the major theme surrounding her rebellious and untamed character. Through Taming the Shrew, William Shakespeare demonstrates the perception of "appearance vs. reality" (Themes) and the wounding nature of a cruel attitude. By unfolding the various facets of Katherine's personality; from the seemingly rigid and obstinate young girl to a gentle wife and a humble woman (Overall Analysis), William Shakespeare drives home the point that neglect, humiliation and unhealthy criticism can lead to total devastating consequences and the tactless manner to handle a disturbed child results in the modification of the individual's behavior causing injury to the people around the subject (Themes). Moreover, further analysis of Katherine's character apart from all other principle characters of the play reveals that human nature compels individuals to conceal their true identities and stay hidden behind the covers of unrealistic individualities. Thus, "a character's purpose for disguising themselves may be to help or hinder other characters, to reveal truths, or perhaps simply for comedy" (Davis).
Hence, the following passages will examine the character of Katherine in detail thereby discussing the various techniques used by Shakespeare to establish the theme of the play Taming the Shrew and answering the question that whether she was tamed eventually or not?
Character Analysis of untamed Katherine/Kate
The beginning of the play vehemently describes Katherine as not only a shrew but she is also considered as a major burden by his father, whose unfair treatment of Kate and the biased treatment of her sister' Bianca's lead to Katherine's wounded soul, that makes her display recalcitrance and heartless attitude towards people around her. For instance: she hits her servants and ties up her sister to pour all her frustration that her father's neglect caused in her (Overall Analysis).
Reasons for blatantly untamed behavior
In order to grab the attention that was due her but she never received, to conceal her agony that her father's attitude towards her caused, to placate her frustrations by seeking revenge from those whom she considered responsible, Katherine adapted to an uncouth behavior, thinking that might assist her in accomplishing her desired goals. (Overall Analysis)
Baptista's tactless ways and selfish intentions
Baptista, Katherine's father makes relentless but tactless efforts to suppress her eldest daughter's unacceptable manners. He mortifies her and scorns at her in order to transform her into a compliant daughter and to make her attitude acceptable to the society (Overall Analysis). However, when all his attempts end up in fiasco, he hunts down all suitors who would accept her daughter with all her shortcomings in exchange of a handsome dowry (Overall Analysis). He appears to be least concerned whom Katherine marries for Baptists wanted to get her off his back as soon as possible. Finally, he finds Petruchio interested in marrying Katherine irrespective of her defamed reputation (Overall Analysis).
Petruchio belonged to Verona and on his meeting with Hortensio, his friend in Padua, he hears about Katherine and her sister and soon gets thrilled to meet the famous-for-violence and independent Katherine (Davis). The reasons why the news ignites a thrill in him are two. One being that he succumbs to the lust of opulence in the form of a massive dowry and the second, more positive one being that he was different than the rest of the men and therefore he always wanted to marry a girl who was as daring and as independent as Katherine. However, he expected his wife to be far more polite and caring than the impolite and scornful Katherine (Davis).
Thus, the sensible man takes up the challenge of marrying and eventually taming the young woman and expressing the same in the following words: "Say that she [Katherina] rail, why then I will tell her plain / She sings as sweetly as a nightingale...If she deny to wed, I will crave the day / When I shall ask the banes, and when be married"(Davis: 2.1.170-180). He plans to concentrate on and express only the good qualities that Katherine possessed as a way to compel her take off the covers of pseudo meanness that was not a part of her actual self. However, Petruchio soon realizes that the other approach would be far more effective than being nice and sweet to his untamed wife. He adapts to the same shrewish ways of treating Katherine and other people in her absence in order to make her realize how insensitive she becomes when she treats other rudely.
Since day one in fact since the time they were betrothed, Petruchio starts the odyssey of taming the untamed Katherine (Davis).
Firstly, he dresses up like a clown on their wedding day followed by an episode of throwing tantrums and spanking servants in the presence of Katherine as soon as she enters his place, to spend the rest of her life. This approach helps Katherine a great deal in comprehending the weaknesses of her character and how those shortcomings affect others around her. Moreover, Petruchio decides to keep his wife deprived of all the beautiful things in life that she adores, saying, "they are not good enough for you." For instance, in scene III, Act IV, in 'reverend care of her" (Davis: 4.1.204) he tries to "kill a wife with kindness" (Davis: 4.1.208), by forbidding her to buy the cap and the gown from the tailor that he himself first ordered. To which Katherine says "Belike you mean to make a puppet of me" (Davis: 4.3.103), revealing that she has comprehended his husband's intentions of ruling over her independent will. However, Petruchio makes the most out of this opportunity to teach her a lesson by saying that by wearing what the tailor designs, she is becoming a puppet, controlled by the tailor. "This relates back again to the idea of sight misleading people, and the wedding scene where he dismisses the importance put on what he should wear. By ranting and raving as she used to, Petruchio is nearly done with his use of disguises and altered identities to free Katherine from her accustomed shrewish ness" (Davis)
Lessons Katherine learnt through Petruchio's altered identities
Hence, Petruchio makes his scornful and untamed wife transform into energetic, highly enthusiastic but considerate and a kind human being who finally comprehends the true meaning of happiness by being good to others. Petruchio disguises himself in several ways only to teach her wife a lesson that positively changes her whole life (Davis). Through her husband's shrewish approach towards Katherine in particular and life in general, she learns that it is…[continue]
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