In Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, Katharina is presented ambiguously with much debate asking whether or not her character is tamed, liberated or whether or not in reality she was a good enough manipulator to make it appear that she becomes tame when in essence her character remains the same. Within this essay I shall be concentrating on the aforementioned as well as discussing a television adaptation of Taming of the Shrew that presents Katharina not as the expected shrew, but as Petruchio’s tamer.
Katharina is often presented as the whipped Shrew. There is evidence within the play, that supports Katharina is tamed by Petruchio. For example, in the opening of the play, Katharina appears to be particularly vocal and aggressive. It is described how both men, women and children tremble whenever she is present. This effect of her appearance is so strong that this not only effects strangers but includes her father and sister. However as the play progresses Katharina is presented as being mild and submissive to Petruchio, leading to the following speech;
‘Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
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...ner, Shirley Nelson. "The Taming of the Shrew: Inside or Outside of the Joke?" In "Bad" Shakespeare: Revaluations of the Shakespeare Canon. Ed. Maurice Charney. London: Associated UP, 1988. 105-19.
Hibbard, G. R. "Introduction." The Taming of the Shrew. Penguin Shakespeare. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968. 15-40.
Hodgdon, Barbara. "Katherina Bound, or Pla(k)ating the Strictures of Everyday Life." PMLA 107 (1992): 538-53.
Huston, Dennis J. "Enter the Hero: The Power of Play in The Taming of the Shrew." In Shakespeare's Comedies of Play. London: Macmillan, 1981. 58-93.
Leggatt, Alexander. Shakespeare's Comedy of Love. London: Methuen, 1974.
Morris, Brian. "Introduction," The Taming of the Shrew. Arden Shakespeare London: Methuen, 1981.
Novy, Marianne L. "Patriarchy and Play in The Taming of the Shrew." English Literary Renaissance 9 (1979): 264-80.
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