The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew written by William Shakespeare depicts the common roles of men and women in the early seventeenth century. Shakespeare writes of Petruchio and Kate, a male and female who sharply oppose each other. Petruicho must “tame” his wife Kate without breaking her true inner spirit. Shakespeare touches on Kates changing character and allows her to undergo three phases: Kates character in the beginning, the methods Petruicho uses to tame Kate and the final outcome (how Kate has changed).
The Taming of the Shrew unravels to reveal a wild beastly Katharine lacking respect for her family, herself and others around her. Kate is a very outspoken and vulgar woman without respect to authority. Katharine, although depicted as a beautiful woman quickly becomes the talk of Padua. Kate has found that if she is loud and obnoxious she can have her way. She screams and grunts and pushes those who she does not get along with. The general character of Katharine seems to be that of a small child.
Peturichos methods of pursuit in some cases border along the lines of torture. Peturicho manipulates and exploits Kates character in order to change her outward actions. Although Peturicho does not want to change Kates inward thoughts, he does not want to break her spirit. The greatest example can be quoted below.
Petruchio says, “Thy gown? Why, aye. Come, tailor, let us see’t. / O mercy, God! What masquing stuff is here? / What’s this? A sleeve? Tis like a demi-cannon. / What, up and down, carved like an apple tart? / Here’s snip and nip and cut and slish and slash, Like to a censer in a barber’s shop.” (4.3.86-92)
Petruciho uses the beautiful gown to show Kate that she will no longer have her way. Petruicho also uses several other instances to tame Kate. Petruicho is “fashionably late” to his wedding with Katharine and upon arrival is dressed as a jester. Petruciho “kidnaps” Kate from her wedding reception, and upon arrival to his home only allows Kate to smell the delicious food. Petruicho conduct himself in this manner to show Kate how she looks and behaves.
After taming the woman that he loved, it became obvious that Petruchio had overcome his pursuit in life. Petruchio had been successful in changing Kates outward actions and boasted to his friends in the ending lines. Petruchio had changed Kate, but allowed her to retain her spirit. Kate spoke the words that Petruchio had trained her to speak, but spoke with vigor and malice.
Kate says, “Fie, fie, unknit that threatening unkind brow / and dart not scornful glances from those eyes / to wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor. / It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads, / Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, Thy head, thy sovereignone that cares for thee, And for thy maintenance commits his body to painful labor both by sea and land, (5.2.145-149)
To conclude Petruchio clearly achieved his goal, and “tamed the shrew” of his life. Katharines father, friends, and townsmen and women were greatly surprised with Petruichos victory over the nasty woman they once knew. Petruicho had certainly improved upon Kates character in the beginning. His methods trained or molded Kate into a proper woman of the time. Katharine had become both tame and submissive to her husband.