Katharina In The Taming Of The Shrew

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In all three of the plays that we have read so far there have been characters that seem either out of place compared to the other characters, as with Othello or Shylock, or looked down upon because they belong to a group that are placed very low on the social structure in Elizabethan society, as with all of the women in the plays. Shakespeare shows the overall role in society of women as one that is only subservient to men. In The Taming of the Shrew there is the brash but ultimately subservient Katharina, in Othello the docile and eternally optimistic Desdemona, and in The Merchant of Venice the powerful but still second class citizen Portia. Shakespeare does not portray these women from our modern perspective of women as independent and…show more content…
But by the end of the play Shakespeare lets her character become completely turned around by Petruchio into the most dutiful wife of all, “This is a way to kill a wife with kindness,/ And thus I’ll curb her mad and headstrong humor” (4.1.208-209). This clearly was meant by Shakespeare to appeal to his Elizabethan audience by appeasing their misconceptions about the inequality of women to men. He could have made Katharina a great heroine and an example of an independent women who did not need a man to make her life happy, but instead he went along with the conventions of his day and made her into a virtual servant of the man who had successfully “tamed” her unwomanly ways. By the end of the play she has been tamed and broken and made to admonish other women to be as dutiful as herself, “Such duty as the subject owes the prince,/ Even such a woman oweth to her husband;/ And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,/ And not obedient to his honest will,/ What is she but a foul contending rebel,/ And graceless traitor to her loving lord?”…show more content…
Shakespeare portrays her as a docile woman who, although she may love Othello, cannot be truly loved by him because he does not respect her as an equal human being and therefore is able to become so jealous over her. Othello’s disrespect for her as an equal person also does not allow him to believe her when she finally figures out what is going on and denies having had an affair. He lets himself be easily persuaded by Iago’s lies and is not swayed in his anger towards his wife, “Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul/ But I do love thee! And when I love thee not,/ Chaos is come again” (3.3.90-92). Shakespeare
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