October 16, 2012
Take-Home Midterm Exam
Shakespeare focuses the attention on three significant heroines in his plays. They include Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew, Viola in The Twelfth Night, and lastly Portia in The Merchant of Venice. All of these women share characteristics of courage and high status. Although Katherine, Viola and Portia obtain their feminine identity, their attitudes and decisions differ pertaining to their personal lives.
Katherine portrays an unladylike manner toward her friends and family initially, but tranisitions into a tamed wife by Petruchio. Kate's character is the worst of all three herorines because of her abusive behavior. She rebels against her father's rules and talks back to him. She expresses no emotion towards men, other than her disrespectful demeanor. There are many reasons as to why Kate acts this way; for instance, all attention that her sister, Bianca, receives from her father or how Kate feels as though Bianca is prettier than her and all the men are attracted to her.
The men in the play are not attracted to Kate because of her outlandish behavior, which forces them to distance themselves even farther away. However, when Petruchio comes into the picture with the intention of marrying her because of her money, he completely changes the way she behaves. When given a taste of her own medicine, Kate begins to realize her actions are not feminine. Her self-criticism and self-awareness entices her to believe that she wants to be a wife, rather than a shrew. In the final scenes of the play, Kate has completely transitioned into re-programmed suitor to Petruchio and also treats the people around her with the utmost respect they deserve.
Unlike the loathsome character of Kate, Viola is a very likable woman,