Role Of Katherine In Taming Of The Shrew

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William Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew, takes an interesting approach to the role of women through his character Katherine. She is a wild and rebellious woman for her time, the complete opposite of the prefect elizabethan housewife. To most men she is undesirable while her sister, the perfect representation of a woman, was wanted by more men than she could ever indulge. Katherine is not the typical elizabethan woman, instead, she is the woman that the other married women in the play strive to be. Shakespeare uses interactions between Katherine and Bianca, as well as conversations between Petruchio and Katherine to express her character. In order to understand her undesirable yet empowering character, it is best to look at various…show more content…
Rather than just being wild, rebellious and undesired, she becomes a character that the other women strive to take after. She suffers the hardships of “being tamed” while showing other women that they can be a bit rebellious and do not need to be fully tamed. This is best seen in the progression of her sister Bianca. At the beginning of the play she is the perfect child. Doing her studies, listening to her father and indulging her suitors, knowing that her duty as a woman is to marry once her sister is married. Yet once Kate is set to be married off, Bianca is a bit more rebellious in every scene that the reader finds her in. This is first noticed in act three scene one, where Bianca first meets her new tutors. After they argue over who gets to spend time with her first, she chastises them, saying, “Why, gentlemen, you do me double wrong to strive for that which resteth in my choice.” (3.1.16-17) She continues by laying out her rules, something she would have never done in the past, saying, “I’ll not be tied to hours nor pointed times, but learn my lesson as I please myself.” (3.1.18-20) In these few words, there is a clear change in Bianca, she speaks to the tutors as their equal or even superior. The Bianca the readers are introduced to at the beginning of the play would never have spoken that way to a man. It was not proper for an elizabethan woman to chastise men or even speak to them as if they were…show more content…
Most see it as the final transformation of Katherine into the tamed elizabethan woman. It can be read as her giving up and becoming the submissive wife he wants her to be. However, it can also be read in a deceitful way. As Kate making him think he has succeeded so that she can become his equal through putting down the other women. Act five scene two is set at the wedding feast of Bianca and Lucentio, where the three married men place a bet on the obedience of their wives. The Widow and Bianca are called first, and both having learned from Katherine, refuse their husbands. Having witnessed Katherine’s previous rebelliousness and non-submissive behaviors gave the two well learned elizabethan women the strength not only to refuse their husbands, but to make their husbands come to them. When Lucentio sends Biondello to fetch his wife, she tells Biondello that “she is busy and she cannot come.” (5.2.84) In the past she would have dropped everything to race to his side as a good wife would have. However, learning from Kate, she refuses him. Hortensio sends word to his wife to come and hears, “She will not come. She bids you come to her.” (5.2.96) To this all the men are shocked, no “tame” wife would speak to her husband in such a way. Only Kate would speak to her husband in that way and she is undesirable for that
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