Kate Controls Her Own Actions in William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew

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Kate Controls Her Own Actions in William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew

Who is primarily in control of Kate's actions in William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew? Is Kate primarily controlling her actions, or do other characters in the play control her? If you just read through the play, but don't study it in-depth, it appears that Kate is controlled by other characters' actions towards her, but is this actually the case? Isn't it very possible that Kate is actually in control of all her decisions, but is just strongly influenced by others? After studying the text in-depth, you can see for yourself that although Kate is strongly influenced by others, she is the one who actually makes the decisions to act in the manner in which she acts.

As was stated, although Kate, in many instances, appears to be controlled by others, she is actually in control of her actions. She is the one who does everything, such as allowing herself to be married off to Petruchio. Some people may say that she was forced to marry Petruchio, but she could have just run away if she really hadn't wanted to marry him. In this instance, Kate's family, especially her father Baptista, and society were influencing Kate to make the choice to not run away and follow through with the marriage. In the end, though, this was Kate's decision - no one made it for her, she had to make it for herself. She had the ability to choose to run away or do something else about being forced to marry Petruchio. Kate was already considered a shrew and often did not let society's roles for men and women influence her: Why couldn't she have done the same in this instance?

Another instance in which it may seem to some people reading the play that Kate is being controlled by...

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...Petruchio mistreat his servants. After coming home from the wedding, Petruchio says, "Here, sir! here, sir! here, sir! here, sir!/You logger-headed and unpolish'd grooms!/What, no attendance? no regard? no duty?/Where is the foolish knave I sent before?" (4.1.115-118). He continues to mistreat his servants right in front of Kate; he even hits a few of them. Kate sees this and realizes how poorly she has treated others in the past and realizes that she doesn't want to be a shrew any longer.

In class, when discussing the topic of control, everyone was pretty much able to agree on one point: Although there are many influences on our decisions, we are ultimately the ones who make our decisions and no one can do that for us. In Taming of the Shrew, there are numerous examples of times Kate is influenced greatly by others, and yet she makes the final decision herself.
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