Katharina is debatably the most multifarious characters in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, due to her development throughout the course of the play. This essay will show how Katherina develops and changes throughout the play as well as discussing whether Katharina was tamed or simply began to understand how to present herself to society.
Upon the commencement of Act I, we see that Katharina is instated in the character of a shrew. Katarina is forceful, petulant and unmanageable by the societal standards of the period. The first time we hear from Katharina, she is caught in a rage, cursing her sisters suitors and threatening them with violence, as seen in the quote ‘‘To comb your noodle with a three-legged stool/ And paint your face and use you like a fool.’’ which is directed at both Gremio and Hortensio. Due to the shrew or monster-like behaviour which Katharina demonstrates, her sister Bianca comes off looking submissive – like the ideal wife. We later learn that Bianca is not actually as perfect as she appears to be, she simply understands how the social system works and knows how to make herself seem desirable. It is imperative to view the relationship between Baptista and his daughters to understand the way in which Katharina acts. Bianca is clearly favoured and Katharina is jealous of the attention and love Bianca receives from both her father and the many suitors which she has.
It isn’t until Act II that we begin to feel sympathy for Katharina. It is in this scene that Katharina is introduced to Petruchio. Petruchio is handsome and well spoken, but is only attempting to woo Katharina in order to obtain the dowry from her rich father. Prior to Petruchio’s initial meeting with Katharina he decides in a soliloquy that he will constantly contradict her, ‘‘Say that she rail; why then I’ll tell her plain / She sings as sweetly as a nightingale. / Say that she frown; I’ll say she looks as clear / As morning roses newly washed with dew.’’ This quote...
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