Katherine And Petruchio In Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew

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In Shakespeare’s time women were looked upon as servants, their only job was to please their husband, as their husband was the superior one of the household. Likewise, that social construct led Shakespeare to having that construct bleed over into his play, The Taming of the Shrew, where Katherine and Petruchio represent the classic patriarchal household. This is perfectly represented in Act 5, Scene 2, lines 155-169, which is a part of Katherine’s speech aimed towards Bianca and the Widow at the end of the play. This speech is significant to the play as a whole because it shows how Katherine’s character changes over the course of five acts, how men would have been viewed in a Elizabethan society, and the influence of the societal ladder in…show more content…
Petruchio does not care that Katherine is a “shrew,” he only wants a very rich woman to marry, and that’s exactly what Katherine is. Her rebellious nature shown in Act 2, is clear, “So you may lose your arms. / If you strike me, you are no gentleman; / And if no gentleman, why then no arms.” (2.1.220-222). Here, Katherine tells Petruchio that she will cut off his arms if he hits here back, as in the lines above she strikes him. In the speech at the end of the play, though, Katherine declares that a women is a “graceless traitor” if she does not bend over backward to her husband’s will. Katherine, in her dynamic character, relates these two things by showing how she was wrong in Shakespeare’s time, in Act 2 by saying that he was not a man if he hit women, even though she hit him…show more content…
Some of the characteristics that The Taming of the Shrew includes is that the play ends on a happy note, where Katherine has been tamed, each women in the play is happily married, but it also has a heavy focus on the marriages between the couples and their relationships and those relationships after their respective weddings. While some of Shakespeare’s other comedies, like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, concludes in the marriages. In addition to that, there is a lightheartedness to it that contrasts some of his later plays like Macbeth or Hamlet (Crowther). For example, there is no tragic hero in The Taming of the Shrew, only a clear discrepancy in societal roles, rather than in Macbeth there wasn’t as much of a distinction between classes, but a focus on the main character and his flaws and mistakes that was making and how that was affecting the outside
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