Is Katherine Really Tamed
Imagine marrying an uncontrollable woman and receiving the challenge to tame her. How strenuous would that be? As difficult as it sounds, it became reality in Shakespeares The Taming of the Shrew. The notorious shrew changes her behavior from being the rude and unmanageable Katherine to the obedient wife Kate! Katherines unexpected and sincere transformation was the result of her hearts desire to be loved and respected by Petruchio.
Katherine is called the shrew by many, including her father. Being the ultimate uncontrollable woman, she fits that description very well. Constantly responding with rejection and violence, she is rude to anyone and everyone. Katherine is filled with words of violence in the first act. To comb your noddle with three-legged stool/And paint your face, and use you like a fool (Shrew I.i.64:65). After being scolded by Hortensio for her temper, Katherine defends herself and threatens to hit him on the head with a stool. Katherines temper continues through the following act. She binds her sisters hands and torments her. Accused of jesting, Katherine strikes Bianca. If that be jest, then all the rest was so. Strikes her (Shrew II.i.22). Later, she becomes irritated during music lessons and strikes Licio with the lute, breaking his head. Katherine is clearly a total shrew, as violent as can be, and very not lady-like. She has to have her way, doing whatever she needs to get what it is that she wants. At this point, it does not seem that even God can control her.
Katherine is emotionally a shrew but does not dare to act on it. She strikes Petruchio during their first conversation, and Petruchio responds quickly saying, I swear Ill cuff you if you strike again (Shrew II.i.216). Although she is angry with Petruchio, Katherine does not respond with her usual shrewish manner. She is not stupid and will not attempt to fight someone thats much stronger than her. After she was threatened, Katherine remained calm while anger fills inside her saying, So may you lose your arms (Shrew II.i.217). Katherine does not give up easily. She obeys Petruchio by not striking again, but deep down she despises him for threatening her and forcing her to obey.
Katherines feelings toward Petruchio soon change. Marry, so I mean, sweet Katherine, in thy bed/Thy beauty that doth make me like thee well(Shrew II.i.259:266). As Petruchio treat Katherine with affection, calling her sweet and describing her beauty, she begins to like the attention. Katherine is not used to Petruchios treatment of kindness. Nobody has ever treated Katherine with love before. Because Petruchio acknowledges her importance, she is more open with him and responds differently towards him. Every person that has previously tried to tame Katherine has failed because they do not know her weakness. Because Petruchio is kind and gentle with Katherine, she knows how it is like to be loved and treated as a queen. She longs for that treatment and has a sincere heart to change her evil ways.
Petruchio forces Katherine to re-examine her ways when he becomes more shrewish, noisy, and rude than her. After being left starved and hungry for days, Petruchio finally brings her something to eat. Katherine is grateful and thanks him saying, I thank you, sir (Shrew IV.iii.47). Later when Petruchio does not appear on time for his wedding, Katherine thinks that Petruchio never really intended to marry her, and she leaves in tears. Would Katherine had never seen him, though. Exit weeping. (Shrew III.ii.26). Katherine does not understand this transition and is confused as to why Petruchio would love her one minute and punish her the next. Katherine loved how Petruchio previously gave her attention and is very saddened to think Petruchio did not want to marry her. She blames herself thinking it was probably something that she did for him not to return to her. In this scene, Katherine is determined to change her ways by loving and obeying Petruchio. She does not want to be a shrew anymore. Instead, she wants to be loved and respected by Petruchio.
By the end of the fourth act, Katherine has completely turned around. She accepts and agrees on anything and everything Petruchio tells her. Petruchio remarks how bright the moon is, and Katherine corrects him that it is the sun, not the moon. He replies that it will be what he says it is. Katherine obeys and calls the sun the moon. And be it moon or sun or what you please/ I know it is the moon (Shrew IV.vi.13:17). Katherine loves Petruchio so much she is willing to do what she is told, even calling Vincentios son a young woman. Hast thou beheld a fresher gentlewoman (Shrew IV.vi.30). Katherine agrees and says, Young budding virgin, fair, and fresh, and sweet (Shrew IV.vi.38:39). After Katherine obeys Petruchio in all ways possible, Petruchio realizes her change of heart and never again punish her. Their relationship strengthens, as Katherine remains sincere and obedient. He calls her sweet Kate and she calls him love.
The final speech Katherine gives proves her ultimate obedience and love for Petruchio. When told, she announces the role of a woman to other wives around her. Thy husband is they lord, they life, they keeper, they head, they sovereign, one that cares for thee (Shrew.V.ii.150-151). Katherine not only praises her husband, she worships him. She is truly sincere and speaks from her heart. The old Katherine would not even make this speech, and if she were forced to, would not have praised Petruchio as much as she did. But Katherine loves Petruchio and not only wanted to express how she felt, but wanted to teach the other wives how they can love and obey their husbands so that they may be as happy as her. Katherine is satisfied because she is now loved and respected by Petruchio.Petruchio feels that he has won Kate over by taming her to be the obedient wife he wants her to be when really it is Kate that has won Petruchios love and respect for her.