A Mirror for Katherine

After finishing, The Taming of the Shrew, my opinion of who was the shrew had changed. In act IV and V we see Petruccio become this monstrous man. We find him striking people and belittling everyone around him except for Katherine. It was at the very end of the play that I remembered that this was all an act on Petruccio’s part.

            From the start we knew how awful Katherine was. Petruccio was made very aware of this but he wanted to take on the challenge of Katherine. After “wooing” her, that is where we see the change in him take over. We see such a change in Katherine’s behavior but I don’t think she really changed at all. She is still the feisty girl we me in act I. We see this when she is talking to Petruccio about the hat she will be made to wear, “Why, sir, I trust I may have leave to speak, And speak I will” (4.3.175). This shows that the real Katherine is still in there but why does she seem to take some much abuse? First of all, I believe it’s because the abuse is not blatant to her. Although he is being controlling and nasty to those around him, he is treating her with kind words. Petruccio’s explanation is always because it is best for their love.

            It is her love for Petruccio, whether she admits it or not, that allows her to seemingly change. Petruccio was the first man to take an interest in her and I think she wants to see the good in him like he said he saw in her. When things start to not look so rosy anymore, I think this is when we start to see Katherine take a little bit more and more of his controlling behavior. Katherine becomes interested to see what outlandish behavior will come of her husband, just like people would watch her act like a psycho. The last act we see Katherine lecturing her sister and the widow, why does she do this? I don’t think it is because she believes what she is saying, more so, it was to show Petruccio that she sees the error in how she had always acted and so she plays along with his charade and acts proper. Petruccio gave her enough chances to see the difference between being a strong person and an unpleasant shrew.

            I am all for a strong female character but I don’t believe that she was a good strong character. She was a brat plain and simple. You can be strong, stick to your opinions but who she was; hitting her sister, being aggressive all the time is not my idea of a strong female character that I will ever root for. I think that Petruccio simply acted as her mirror image to let her have a look at how the world viewed her.


One thought on “A Mirror for Katherine

  1. lauriegrl14

    I agree that Katherine acted more like a brat than a strong female character in the beginning. Her strength for me became apparent at the end. This whole play was based on illusions and disguises and Katherine was just playing her part, as was Petruccio. At the end I came to the conclusion that they were indeed a match made in heaven, they both rose to the challenge. At the end Petruccio put a lot of faith in Katherine and she knew that. She could have easily refused his orders like the Widow and Bianca but she doesn’t. What she does instead is prove all of them wrong. Petruccio gives her that opportunity, he gives her back her power. And once again, but this together, they pull the wool over everyone’s eyes.


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