Kiss Me Woman – Taming Of The Shrew Essay, Research Paper
Kiss Me Woman
The Taming of The Shrew by William Shakespeare
Love, life, and laughter – the three L s of a successful relationship, but only one person is laughing. So, which sex is the victim? Men may use some clever ways to hide themselves to manipulate women and vice versa; nonetheless, Shakespeare implies the latter one: feminine obedience is a clever disguise women adopt to get what they want from men or victims. In his play, The Taming of The Shrew, Katherine is a shrewd shrew, who disguises herself as a dependent wife by adopting obedience to get her way from Patricia, who thinks he tames her yet, in essence, she tames him. In return for her obedience, Katherine gains the necessary needs for herself, from herself and as well as from others in the play. She begins the bout without a coach at her corner and with only her guileful wits, but as she learns the ropes, Katherine creates two different lives and sets strong goals for herself to KO her opponent.
Katherine fools everyone in the play by falsely changing her status and spirit as a shrew to a tame wife. When Patricia and Katherine first coincide, Katherine rages with her wits to imply her position as her refusal and as a cunning woman and To wish [herself] wed to one half-lunatic, / A madcap ruffian and a swearing Jack, / That thinks with oaths to face the matter out (II, I, 287-289); furthermore, she swears her proclamation in front of her father and her sister s suitors to further indulge them to her real countenance. Her peevish speech pushes Petruchio, as well as herself, away from a supercilious position among the suitors. Katherine s snappy wits disillusion her audience, which allows her to dominate her audience. She forces their eyes to gaze at the red print that reads: NOT FOR SALE , written across a wooden board that swings back and forth around her neck. Furthermore her lengthy, ambitious speech near the end of the play continues to fool her audience – again, allowing her to dominate her audience. But unlike her first motives, her second motive plans to feign her shrewdness and uplift her tameness. She clears her throat, lifts up her chin and her chest, and ravishes her call to all woman:
Such duty as the subject owes the prince,
Even such a woman oweth to her husband
And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
(V. ii. 155-60)
Her enterprising performance bedazzles her puppets with expectation to fit their standards, which, really, she tells them what they want to hear. Her father expects the Bianca , in Katherine and Petruchio expects the Griselda in Katherine; so, she begins to blush like Bianca and to talk like Griselda, a model for all women. Katherine scratches the NOT off her wooden board with a pen, but only she knows the pen is erasable.
Kate is what some people today would call a bitch. But who could blame her? While she seems unhappy with her own belligerence, she wants to feel love; yet she does little to make herself lovable because she feels that [she] must dance barefoot on [Bianca s] wedding day, / And, for [Baptista s] love for [Bianca], lead apes in hell, (II.i.33-34). Katherine grinds her teeth at others who frequently compare her to her docile sister, who uses her feminine stratagems to control her many suitors. She only wishes love and respect from her father and another significant other, but tempering her aggression with some of her sister s placidity highlights as her only solution. By adopting her sister s pretend serene, Katherine s notorious reputation crumbles and fits well in her audience s waste baskets. As a result, she gains love from her father, which premieres at the end of the play when he hands Another dowry to another daughter, / For she is changed as she had never been, (V.ii.114-115) and respect from others who deny her domestic nature. Katherine also attains love from her significant other, Petruchio, who dives better under a docile woman than any other male-egotistic tough guy . When Petruchio threatens to punish Kate once again for her contrariness during their argument of whether stands as day or night, Kate suddenly decides to let it be moon or sun or what you please. / And if you please to call it a rushcandle, / Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me, (IV.v.13-15). She learns to sustain her independence through ironic exaggeration; if Petruchio says it is the moon, Katherine knows it is the moon. Her only way of keeping her inner freedom is by outwardly denying it, which she accomplishes beautifully as Petruchio and her father as evidence. The relationship between Kate and Petruchio does not begin by love. When Kate walks onto the roof of her father s house, the first thing Petruchio does is worry about losing not Kate, but his 20 thousand crowns, Baptista promises after their marriage. But she lives up to be his perfect wife and tames him to love her by her disguise. Thus, Katherine safe-locks her most precious motive that she keeps on top of her Santa List, which dwells in her heart as love.
A critic (probably a Petruchio of today), however, might ask, If Katherine changes for the sake of what others think of her or rather because she wants people to love her, but not for whom she really is, but for whom she pretends to be; then is she not tamed under the expectations of others and herself? The answer shines a big, beautiful NO . Petruchio gains Kate s outward compliance in the shape of public display while her spirit stays roguishly free, meaning she lives two different lives. In one life, Kate dazzles the once arrogant woman to the present submissive woman, which she knows she succeeds in her dazzlement when Petruchio s servant, Grumio, says that she is
…starved for meat, giddy for lack of sleep,
With oaths kept waking and with brawling fed.
And that which spites me more than all these wants,
He does it under name of perfect love.
(IV. iii. 9-12)
Grumio s passage informs Kate of her victory, so far, in her secret life, for if Grumio believes Petruchio wears down Kate by depriving her of food and clothes so she may love him, than all others must believe the same way. This formality suits Kate well, because she wants her public life to prevail illusively and Kate smiles happily about the fit of her suit. The play invites the audience to accept the distinction between Kate s public and private selves and to agree that Kate s taming does not crush her spirit. And her spirit remains fit as it has before, because her private life of her independent self keeps it on at all times. When the suitors and Petruchio propose a wager to the man with the most obedient wife, Katherine walks in as the only woman to obey her husband s will; in addition …she comes and brings [their] froward wives / As prisoners to her womanly persuasion, (V. ii. 119-20). Her public life, like her private life, is important because they affect the life of the spirit in herself. As long as Kate publicly slows her husband, comes when he calls and says what he wants her to say, their private relationship may be fun and equal.
Although Katherine obeys Petruchio at his every command, she pretends to be obedient to acquire her needs and wants, really, she tames him. The play analyzes women in words of staying near the sources of power, if they want to survive or get what they want, like Gertrude in Hamlet marrying a stronger king and Katherine marrying a strong man. The play also implies that male dominance is just a social aspect, where it stands clear from the private relationship. Accordingly, Shakespeare offers a type of an adage in The Taming of The Shrew: if women will go along with a man s manipulations as only a simple gesture, than they can follow it as they wish, but the cost is to go along with it.