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Commentary on Taming of the shrew Essay


Taming of the Shrew research paper Pg.1

At the beginning of the play Kate and Pertruchio seem like opposites psychologically, but by the end theyre similar.

At the beginning of the play Kate and Pertruchio seem as if they are two completely different characters. Towards the beginning of the play in the mirror scene you can see dramatic differences between the two characters. For example, when Petruchio meets Kate for the first time you can see right away that the attitudes of the characters are completely different. I say this because Petruchio at this time in the play is a very relaxed, well mannered and is in a totally different mind state than Kate. He is also standing whereas Kate is sitting or vise versa; they are never doing the same thing. Kate in this scene feels to an audience that she is a person that no one should come in contact with.

Also in this scene there is a time when both of the characters are seen in the mirror. This can mean many things; I interpret this as a foreshadowing of things to come and that both of them in the mirror means that they reflect each other.

Kate is coarse and rough around the edges at the start of the play. She constantly insults and degrades the men around her, and she is prone to showing wild displays of anger, during which she may physically and verbally attack whomever gets her mad enough. Though most of the plays characters simply believe Kate to be inherently hot headed. It is definitely possible to think that her unsettling behavior comes from unhappiness. She may act like a shrew because she is miserable and desperate. There are many possible sources of Katherines unhappiness: she shows jealousy about her fathers treatment of her sister, but her anxiety may also come from feelings about her own undesirability, the fear that she may never have a husband, hating the way men treat her, and so on. Generally Kate feels out of place in her society. Due to her intelligence and independence, she is unwilling to play the role of the maiden daughter. She clearly rebels against societys expectations to obey her father and show grace, courtesy and etiquette toward people around her. At the same time, however, Katherine has to see that given the state of her social situation, her only hope to find a secure and happy life in the world lies in finding a husband.

Petruchio doesnt make Kates life any easier either but it isnt surprising why she would marry someone like him. For example in their very first conversation Petruchio makes it know that he is Kates intellectual and verbal equal which makes him very

different and more interesting on some level than the dominating men that are normally around her. Petruchios treatment towards Kate is supposed to teach her that she has no choice but to adapt to the social role as a house wife.

What I would like to touch upon now is how Petruchio used strategy to accomplish taming Kate. One technique that he used was being more of a shrew that she was (throwing tantrums, showing up to the wedding in ragged clothes, and starving her). He also told her that he was so loving and kind in hopes that those qualities would shine through the in a sense shrewish qualities that he possessed. But then this brings up the question did Kate want to be tamed? In my personal opinion I would have to say yes to this because Kate was not stupid, I think she had an idea of what Petruchio was up to and he gave away what he was doing when to told her that he wanted to tame her. Even before he told her that he wanted to tame her she showed signs of submission by telling her father that she must dance barefoot on her wedding day.

Although critics and readers alike say that The Taming of the Shrew is sexist towards women I would have to say that this holds to be false because if you look closely at the play itself and its intricacies its merely a play about a women that is out of line for her times and doesnt fit in with society and she is merely taught (by Petruchio) how she is expected to act as a normal healthy women in society. Because no women at the time (from what I read) was or is as assertive as Kate is or was.

Although in many ways believe it or not Petruchio is much like his wife, but there is one rather big difference he doesnt go through the maturation and development that Kate goes through. Let me explain; when we look at Petruchio at the beginning of the play it seems that he wants to live just for himself and existing in hopes that one day he will find a wife. If money were his only goal then surely he wouldnt have tried as hard to get Kate too look from another perspective. But there is evidence that he tried very hard to get a partnership with her so when it comes to it Petruchio in fact does not want to live in wealth. He wants someone he can share his wits with and someone who can challenge him intellectually, emotionally and physically. For example I will bring up the wedding scene again; he purposely arrived late, wearing inappropriate attire, and behaving in a completely improper manner at the wedding mark Petruchios steps in getting a wife worth more than merely her money.

Another aspect of Petruchio that sets him aside from all other characters in the play itself is the way he comes to trust Kate. For example the plays final scene during the banquet when Petruchio puts his reputation in Kates hands.

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