Katherine Being a Shrew

April 17, 2017 General Studies

In William Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew, Kate transforms from a shrew to an obedient wife because of Petruchio’s taming tactics. Kate changes into an obedient wife in the end because Petruchio fully tames her. As the play moves along, Kate begins to show signs of changing but still demonstrates her shrewish ways because Petruchio does not have total control of her yet. Because of the need to be disciplined, Kate displays shrewish behavior. Kate showcases the qualities of being a shrew in the beginning because of the lack of discipline from her husband, Petruchio.

For example, Kate displays her shrewish ways when she talks back to Petruchio. When Petruchio and Kate first meet, instead of agreeing and respecting him, Kate contradicts him and fights back with him, proving that Kate acts shrewishly because of disciplinary problems. In addition to fighting back, Kate demonstrates shrewish behavior when she hits Hortensio with a lute and he says, “Why, no, for she hath broke the lute to me. I did but tell her she mistook her frets, And bowed her hand to teach her fingering, When, with a most impatient devilish spirit” (2. . 141-144). She hits Hortensio because Petruchio has not fully tamed her yet. Showing her shrewish behavior, Kate ties and beats Bianca. When Kate asks Bianca which suitor she loves the most and she does not answer, anger consumes Kate and causes her to beat and tie up Bianca, reassuring the fact that Kate’s shrewish behavior reveals itself because of the need to be disciplined. Although Kate acts like a shrew in the beginning, she begins to change into an obedient wife, but still maintains her shrewish ways.

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Even though she behaves shrewishly in the beginning, Kate reveals signs of changing while keeping her shrewish ways because Petruchio does not possess total control of her yet. For example, Kate shows qualities of transformation when she displays sympathy for Petruchio’s servants like when they spill water. When the servants drop water and Petruchio yells at them, instead of being mean to the servants like people expect her to do, she defends them, proving that Kate commences to exhibit signs of change because Petruchio’s taming tactics begin to work.

In addition to showing the servants sympathy, Kate showcases signs of change when she starts agreeing about the sun and the moon by saying, “Forward, I pray, since we have come so far, And be it moon, or sun, or what you please. And if you please to call it a rush candle, Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me” (4. 5. 13-17). Instead of contradicting Petruchio, she accepts his statement about the sun and the moon, which establishes that Kate presents signs of transformation because of Petruchio’s taming strategies.

Another example of conversion comes about when Kate asks nicely to stay at the wedding. Being a person who listens to almost no one, when Petruchio commands her to leave the wedding, she politely requests to stay, which implies that Kate is beginning to alter her ways because of Petruchio’s disciplinary actions towards her. Although Kate maintains her shrewish ways but changes a little bit as the play moves along, by the end of the play, Kate completes her transformation from a shrew to an obedient wife.

Even though she begins to change in the middle of the play, Kate fully changes by the end because Petruchio’s taming strategies are registering. For example, her change shows itself when Kate kisses Petruchio when he tells her to. Proving that Kate does not possess her shrewish ways anymore because Petruchio has tamed her, when he orders her to kiss him, instead of ignoring or contradicting him, she listens. In addition to kissing Petruchio on command, when Kate comes on Petruchio’s command, transformation reveals itself.

When Petruchio calls for Kate, instead of ignoring him like people assume she will do, she follows his command and arrives to his aid, implying that Kate completes her transformation because of Petruchio’s taming techniques. Kate’s conversion comes out when she gives a speech on how to be an obedient wife by saying, “But love, fair looks, and true obedience – Too little payment for so great a debt. 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” (5. 2. 169-174).

Seeing Bianca and the Widow’s looks and actions, anger and disgust consume her and cause her to give the obedience speech because she does not believe the lack of respect they display to their husbands, which establishes that Kate converts fully into an obedient wife in the end because Petruchio’s taming tactics have worked. All in all, Kate stops acting like a shrew and finally acts like an obedient wife in the end. Because of Petruchio’s taming tactics, Kate, in William Shakespeare’s comedy The Taming of the Shrew, changes from a spitfire to a loyal wife. In the beginning, she listens to no one and acts like a shrew.

As the play moves along, Kate starts to change her ways; she fully converts into an obedient wife in the end. When Petruchio meets Kate for the first time and sees her shrewish ways, he talks about change when he says, “Thou must be married to no man but me; For I am he am born to tame you, Kate, And bring you from a wild Kate to a Kate Conformable as other household Kates” (2. 1. 290-293). This quote relates to the essay because in the beginning, Kate acts like a shrew, but as the play continues and in the end, she falls in love with a man and transforms into an obedient wife.


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