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Kate’s taming Paper

Baptista and others then return. ‘…how speed you with my daughter?’ asks Baptista, L.272-273. Petruchio lies and says, ‘How but well, sir? How but well? It were impossible I should speed amiss.’ Katherina is furious! She calls Petruchio a ‘…one half lunatic, a mad-cap ruffian and a swearing Jack that thinks with oaths to face the matter out.’ (L.280-281) Petruchio once again lies and claims Kate is putting it on and says that because they got on so well, they have agreed to marry on Sunday. ‘I’ll see thee hang’d on Sunday first!’ (L.291) Says Kate.

Gremio and Tranio begin to doubt Petruchio but then he gives a long speech about how much she loves him. ‘I tell you, ’tis incredible to believe how much she loves me-O the kindest Kate! She hung about my neck, and kiss on kiss she vied so fast, protesting oath on oath, that in a twink she won me to her love.’ (L.298-302) Baptista is absolutely thrilled! Kate doesn’t say anything though. This seems to be a turning point for Kate.

She doesn’t argue with Petruchio or deny what he has said, nor does she threaten or insult him. Her silence at the end of this scene is remarkable. Kate has been fiery and bad-tempered throughout the play but now Petruchio and her father are forcing marriage upon her and yet she remains silent! Maybe she does in fact like Petruchio? Or maybe she is so shocked that someone actually wants to marry her? Either way this is a big change in the Kate we are used to.

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Act 3, Scene 2 is the scene of the wedding. There’s a problem though – someone is missing. Oddly enough it isn’t Kate…it’s Petruchio! Kate is extremely upset and embarrassed by his failure to show. ‘No shame but mine. I must, forsooth, be forc’d to give my hand, oppos’d against my heart, unto a mad-brain rudesby…I told you, I, he was a frantic fool!’ (L.8-12) Kate is once again speaking her feelings. She claims that she is being forced to marry him but she did not object or argue with Petruchio to what he was saying in the previous act. Kate then exits the scene weeping. ‘Go, girl. I cannot blame thee now to weep, for such an injury would vex a very saint, much more a shrew of thy impatient humour.’ (L.27-32) Says Baptista. This is the first time in the whole play that Baptista has been sympathetic about Katherina.

After a long time of waiting Petruchio finally arrives. Kate and Baptista are horrified and completely humiliated – Petruchio is drunk and dressed in an old shabby outfit. It would have been better if he hadn’t turned up at all. ‘To me she’s married, not unto my clothes.’ Says Petruchio, L.111. This is true but obviously he has a reason for dressing the way he has. In my opinion this is the beginning of his plan to tame her. By embarrassing her in front of everyone it shows he is the one who is in charge, not her.

Gremio then describes the wedding to us. Surprisingly he claims that Kate is ‘…a lamb, a dove, a fool…’ (L.151) compared to Petruchio. Gremio’s feelings have obviously changed since the first act when it was him who referred to her as a devil. We then move onto the wedding feast. Petruchio tells everyone that him and his new wife won’t be able to stay as he is in a hurry to return home. Kate doesn’t like this though. She ‘entreats’ him to stay and says, L.199, ‘Now, if you love me, stay.’ She blackmails him. Surprisingly she doesn’t hit him or insult him.

When Petruchio still insists on going and ignores her, she gets angry. ‘Nay then, do what thou canst, I will not go today! No, nor tomorrow–not till I please myself!’ (L.200-2003) She’s gone back to her fiery usual self. Kate is showing self-control and that she is in charge, not Petruchio. In the end he drags her off anyway, kicking and screaming. The next scene (Act four, scene one) is set at Petruchio’s house. Kate is miserable and in a state. She fell of her house on the way to the house and is soaking wet and muddy.

Petruchio’s servants have cooked him and his new wife a meal. This is where the beginning of Kate’s taming really begins. Petruchio starts to yell and complains that all the food is burnt. He then begins throwing the food and dishes at his servants and insulting them. This is where we see a big change in Kate. ‘I pray you, husband, be not so disquiet. The meat was well, if you were so contented.’ (L.150-151) Kate is defending the servants and being polite/calm. She isn’t being fiery and bad-tempered.

Petruchio’s taming has barely begun and she already seems to be softening. Petruchio then gives a long speech to himself, talking about more ways to tame Kate. In Scene 3 Kate talks to Gremio about how she is feeling, L.1-16. She realises that the greater the wrong done to her, the worse his temper grows. Maybe she is beginning to see he is trying to tame her?

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