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Kate & Petruchio

Kate & Petruchio . Who tames whom?. Understanding Characters. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary , a shrew is defined as: A scolding woman A small long-snouted mammal, like a mouse, mainly feeding on insects. Characteristics of the “small long-snouted mammal”.

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Kate & Petruchio

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  1. Kate & Petruchio Who tames whom?

  2. Understanding Characters • According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary , a shrew is defined as: • A scolding woman • A small long-snouted mammal, like a mouse, mainly feeding on insects

  3. Characteristics of the “small long-snouted mammal” • Active, solitary, surface dwellers • Voracious and suffer from lack of food very quickly • Aggressive behavior at all times • Fighting does not involve actual physical contact, but consists of high-pitched screaming contests

  4. Katherine – a shrew? • Believes she will remain unmarried and die an old maid • Sees Bianca as daddy’s favorite • Her own marriage is unimportant – who will take her? • First come, first serve! • Father will pay to take her off his hands – handsome reward! • In Bianca’s way – how long has this been going on? • Recycled suitors? • Defense mechanism?

  5. Petruchio • Materialistic & Greedy • Sees Katherine as a source of wealth • Comes from a wealthy family, but wants more! • Romantic? • Hints that he wants more than orderliness and domesticity • Talks of her beauty, seems to flirt with her, deeply flatters her

  6. Petruchio’s Strategy • 2 strategies: • To befuddle or bewilder Kate • Keep reinforcing in her mind the ideal of womanhood he believes she is capable of seeing in herself

  7. Katherine’s intrigue • We can presume no-one has ever flattered her before • Petruchio holds his own in their verbal banter • Again, we can presume no-one has been able to that before • Katherine’s protests weaken, until she says nothing • The only time she seems afraid is when she doesn’t think Petruchio will show up for the wedding • She may see Petruchio as a way of escaping her home – the only way out! • Is she quite ready and happy to be “tamed”? • Does she keep up her act as a shrew to save face? • Petruchio appears as an attractive suitor • Energetic, experienced, and sexy • Very different than those who pursue Bianca (likely Kate’s previous suitors)

  8. Petruchio’s Taming Process • Delaying his arrival at the wedding • Arriving to be married in ludicrously inappropriate clothing • Cuffing the priest • Carrying the bride off and denying her any partaking of the wedding feast • Refusing her food on the pretext that it is of inferior quality • Lecturing her on restraint and moderation when his own behavior has been almost insane • Depriving her of sleep with the excuse that the bed is not properly made • Denying her proper clothing to wear when visiting her father

  9. What is his point? • Disarray prevents caring and wellbeing • Long for the ideal – a quiet domesticity and peaceful marriage through orderliness and unity • Hold up a mirror to Kate, distort her perception • Prompt her to desire convention or order

  10. Falconer & Falcon • “man my haggard” – tame my wild hawk • A falcon in training is deprived of food • Not allowed to eat until it proves obedient • Then, not allowed to consume prey, but must be fed by the falconer • Kate endures forced fasting until Petruchio permits her to eat • **Note that Petruchio fasts with Kate – not really cruel action as it first appears….tamed together?

  11. Falconer & Falcon cont’d • After training, a falcon must be tested with the falconer present • Kate is tested on the way to her father’s house – • she must agree with whatever Petruchio has to say, even if he is wrong

  12. Falconer & Falcon cont’d • The real test comes when the falconer is not present – will the falcon return to his master? • Kate is put to test by Petruchio, which she passes • She comes to him when he “commands” her to do so • She fetches the other two women (Bianca and the Widow) who refuse when their husbands “bid” or “entreat” them • She delivers a chastisement and a call of duty to them

  13. Who is really tamed? • Petruchio appears outwardly manic, but is inwardly controlled • During the wooing & initial taming – does Kate keep her outwardly furious act to “save face”, but is really inwardly smitten? • Petruchio married for money, yet the closing scene shows his tenderness for Kate • Has he fallen in love with Kate? • He responds to her unsolicited act of love & generosity (the speech) by kissing her • This went above and beyond his expectations of a general statement • Kate shows Petruchio her submissiveness • But is she also playing him at his own game? • Showing him she is ready for a peaceful domestic life

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