18 April 2013
Katharina the curst!
A title for a maid of all titles the worst.
Who is Katherina Minola?
As I sat listening to the first read thru of Taming of the Shrew I started hearing answers to this question, through the descriptive words of the other characters. The words were not complimentary. This led to my next question… why is she perceived this way and is it true? This complicated lady I was about to play shows her true nature in her own words (if you listen closely) The story is that of the wealthy Minola family. Senor Baptista has 2 daughters Katherina the eldest who is known for her bad temper and sharp tongue and the youngest Bianca known for her beauty and sweet nature. Bianca has several suitors but Baptista will not let her marry till the eldest is married first. Enter Petruchio a friend of one of the suitors who is looking for a wealthy woman to marry. This is the main plot with a subplot where the various suitors for Bianca’s hand vie for her affection.
The first thing I noticed was the lack of a mother. It is left to the actors and director to decide how long the mother has been dead. This would leave Katherina with the responsibility of the household as well as the rearing of the younger sister. Also in many households when a younger child is born the elder child feels abandoned and acts out. If the younger child has a more moderate temperament that might cause a parent to become more distant from the one acting out and it becomes a vicious cycle.
We see how others (mostly men) see Katherina through their conversation. Gremio calls her “a fiend of hell” and says “she's too rough for me”. He also does not believe anyone could love her as he says in these next 2 statements. “I say, a devil, any man is so very a fool to be married to hell?” and “I had as lief take her dowry with this condition, to be whipped at the high cross every...
Cited: Asimov, Isaac. Asimov’s guide to Shakespeare, New York, Wings Books, 1970 print
Gardner, Patrick and Phillips, Brian
“Character Analysis” and “Theme: The Effect of Social Roles on Individual Happiness”. (20 march 2007) web
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