Katharina In The Taming Of The Shrew

619 Words3 Pages
Shrew-like Women and Gender roles in William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” The female lead character of William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” Katherina Minola is foul tempered, often insults the people around her and is prone to resorting to physical violence when she is angered. Her unladylike behavior results in most of the other characters in the play believing her to be inherently shrewish. However, Katharina is a far more complex and sympathetic character than this. Her behavior is a result of her treatment at the hands of the male characters in the play, her position as a social outcast and her frustration at not being able to change her situation. Katharina is not a shrew, she simply doesn’t fit neatly into her prescribed…show more content…
When Katherina’s father says that she must marry before her sister, Katharina asks if her father will “make a stale of me amongst these mates.” Her contempt for Bianca’s suiters is bold, it is not unreasonable; nor are her objections to being objectified at the hands of these men. Later, she expresses her frustration with her lack of autonomy saying “as though, belike I knew not what to take and what to leave? Ha!” Katharina’s father, and later her husband Petruchio do not listen to her wishes or allow her to speak her mind. During a disagreement about a cap between Petruchio and Katharina she says “Why, sir I trust I may have leave to speak, and speak I will. I am no child, no babe” (4.3,32) Unlike her sister Bianca who demonstrates “mild behavior and sobriety” (1.1,10) Katharina is outspoken and expresses her discontent. While Katharina does make use of physical violence, she only does so when provoked. An example of this is when Bianca asks Katharina if “it is for him you do envy me so?” (2.1,16) Bianca’s question implies that Katharina is jealous of Bianca’s desirability and in turn emphasizes Katharina’s undesirability. In fact, Katharina can be kind such as on her and Petruchio’s honeymoon, when Grumio a servant is beaten by Petruchio. Grumio says of Katharina that “she waded through the dirt to pluck him off me” (4.1,28). This demonstrates that Katharina is capable of showing compassion, even to those below her. Katharina lashes out, not because she is a bad person but because she is expected to be obedient and desirable and she is frustrated with
Open Document