The Taming of the Shrew- Shakespeare How do you interpret Katherina in the play The Taming of the Shrew

Essay by 97gracerachel November 2003

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The title of the play "The Taming of the Shrew", suggests to me that it will be about someone being forced to calm down or training another person. The Taming of the Shrew is about how Petruchio tries to mould his wife Katherina into his ideal wife.

Over the years in which "The Taming of the Shrew" has been performed, critics' insights and opinions of the play have changed drastically. The play has attracted so much opprobrium, for example towards the end of the 19th Century George Bernard Shaw commented,

"It is good to for the shrew to encounter a force like that and be brought to her senses".

Here he suggests that the way in which Petruchio had treated Katherina was acceptable. However even Shaw seemed to have contradictory views on the play.

"The final scene was altogether disgusting to a modern sensibility. No man ca sit it out in the company without being extremely ashamed of the lord of creation moral implied in the wager and the speechput into the women's own mouth".

Shaw's criticism of Katherina's trial speech it seems, is that the centre of critical discussion of Shakespeare's feisty heroine's transformation.

As a woman, I have been influenced by modern feminist criticism. I can see the masculine bias in the text and appreciate the context in which Shakespeare wrote his comedy. It is perhaps the problem of "reading " Katherina with modern sensualities, which has led to the play receiving such critical discussion.

In Elizabethan England most weddings that took place were arranged and were based upon money. Petruchio makes no bones about his desires,

"I come to wive it wealthily, then happily in Padua; if wealthily, then happily in Padua".

Money is very important to Petruchio.

In 1938 HB Charlton,

"Argues that no...