Katharina in Taming of the Shrew Essay

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The Character of Katharina in Taming of the Shrew

In Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, the character that has caused much debate and discussion has been Katharina, the shrew. The topic has usually been whether she was tamed, liberated, or whether she was just a good enough actress to make everyone think she was tamed. In this essay, I will present arguments for and against each of these points, as well as discuss one television adaptation of Taming of the Shrew that presents Katharina not as the expected shrew, but as Petruchio's tamer.

Katharina: The Whipped Shrew

There is evidence that supports Katharina was tamed by Petruchio. For instance, in the opening of the play, Katharina is very vocal
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Her speech leads the audience to see that this duty of the wife is one that is a repaymentto the husband for all the hard work he does to support her, a debt that the wife could never possibly repay.

Reasons why Katharina might not have been tamed can be found in the fact that the play takes place in what seems to be just a few days. One must ask the question: Is it possible to cause such a great change in a person's behavior in such a short amount of time as this? It is very unlikely that it is possible, since Katharina, by the opening of the play, is at least 20 years of age and is very much set into her ways. It would take much longer to cure Katharina of this attitude problem she possesses. With this in mind, it is very likely that Katharina was either liberated by Petruchio in how to control her temper, or she acted as if she had been tamed to get everyone off of her back.

Katharina: The Liberated Shrew

Since it is not possible for Katharina to have been tamed by Petruchio in the short time period of the play, it is possible that she was liberated by Petruchio's actions. In the movie version of Taming of the Shrew, starring Elizabeth Taylor as Katharina and Richard Burton as Petruchio, the ending sequence is presented with the widow and Bianca refusing to
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