Essay on The Taming of the Shrew; Is Kate Tamed?

755 WordsMar 31, 20134 Pages
Katherina may be a shrew, but Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew does not truly show a study of how a selfish, spoilt individual is made to conform to society’s expectations, or be tamed into a ‘proper’ woman. At the end of the play, Katherina is not, necessarily, tamed - she just realizes what she must to do in order to get the things she wants. Two main examples of her submitting to Petruchio in order to achieve her desires are in Act 4, scene 5, (the sun versus moon scene) as well as Act 5, scene 2 (the kiss me kate scene and her final monologue). In Act 4, scene 5, the audience is shown a major part of Petruchio’s ‘taming’ process. Petruchio exclaims: “Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!” (iv, v, line 3, page 185).…show more content…
“What, in the midst of the street? / … / No, sir God forbid, be ashamed to kiss.” (v, ii, line 148, 149, page 205). Again, she is threatened with having to return home instead of joining in the festivities, and Kate gives Petruchio a kiss. This obedient kiss may indicate Petruchio’s power over her, but it was clear to Kate that if she did not give him the kiss he asked for, she would not have been allowed to proceed to the wedding feast. Kate is smart and cunning and she manipulated his yearn for her tameness in order to do everything that she wants to while making him happy and pleased. In addition, Kate’s final monologue, also in Act 5, scene 2, tells the audience a lot; about the play itself, as well as the society in Shakespeare’s era. On face value, Kate’s final monologue seems to be a long lecture about serving your husband, no questions asked. “Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot, / And place your hands below your husband’s foot” (v, ii, lines 92-3, page 221). However, Shakespeare gave Kate the last word in the play, a sign of her consistent power and control. As well, her monologue can be perceived as quite ironic. Kate is aware of the beliefs about how women in the household should act and, as clearly portrayed throughout the entire play, the role Petruchio has been trying to get her to fill. By playing along fullheartedly with society’s expectations, in front of the large audience of guests, Kate becomes “truly tamed” - or just incredibly
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