The Taming of the Shrew; Is Kate Tamed?

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Katherina may be a shrew, but Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew does not truly show a study of how a selfish, spoilt individual is made to conform to society’s expectations, or be tamed into a ‘proper’ woman. At the end of the play, Katherina is not, necessarily, tamed - she just realizes what she must to do in order to get the things she wants. Two main examples of her submitting to Petruchio in order to achieve her desires are in Act 4, scene 5, (the sun versus moon scene) as well as Act 5, scene 2 (the kiss me kate scene and her final monologue).

In Act 4, scene 5, the audience is shown a major part of Petruchio’s ‘taming’ process. Petruchio exclaims: “Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!” (iv, v, line 3, page 185). It is, of course, the sun shining brightly, as Kate rightly corrects him. When Petruchio threatens Kate by telling her that they will not proceed on their journey to her father’s house unless she agrees with him, Kate is smart enough to realize that the only way to continue on the trip would be to comply. She readily agrees with Petruchio, quite respectfully and subserviently, in fact. Even when Petruchio counters her agreement with “Nay, then you lie. It is the blessed sun” (iv, v, line 20, page 187) Kate manages to control her anger and, once again, agrees with him. The audience is aware that Kate knows Petruchio is using this ‘obedience’ strategy as a way to tame Kate and that she seems to have caught on to his tactic. By showing her self-control during that moment, instead of having an outburst, it is obvious that Kate outsmarted Petruchio. She is not, at all, tamed; simply able to get the things she wants in a calmer manner. Instead of taming her, Petruchio has taught her new ways of achieving the things she wants.

As well, in Act 5, scene 2, Kate is also shown to be manipulating the situation around her while appearing “tamed”. When the couple is heading towards Lucentio and Bianca’s wedding dinner, Petruchio pauses in...
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