In the beginning of The Taming of the Shrew, some say Shakespeare portrays Katherina as a very shrewish figure. Others may argue that she is not shrewish but just a very strong willed person. At the end of the play some people say she is transformed into a very kind and gentle person, while again others will argue that she is not tamed but just putting on an act to show up her younger sister Bianca, whom has always been more beautiful and charming. Kate is like a wasp, like a foal, like foal that kicks from his halter; pert, quick and determined, but full of good heart. 1.This statement made by one author, shows clearly that he does not see her as shrew-like, even at the beginning of the play. The same author states that at the end of the play she has not really transformed, rather she has just fallen in love with Petruchio, in essence she is free from torment because she is no longer seen as the shrew.
In the beginning of the play Kate is consistently in opposition to everything around her2, meanwhile Bianca obeys so gently and with such sweet submission that it is obvious why she is Baptistas favorite daughter2. In the end of the play, the roles switch and Katherina is submissive to every word of Petruchio and Bianca resists the commands of her new husband.
Kates first reaction to Petruchio, her mad wooer, is self-pity, and even her father feels that his treatment of her would vex a saint. He takes her away from the home she is used to, with servants and maids to wait on her hand and foot, to the country. There she is away from the luxurious town life and is cold, hungry and tired. She somewhat learns to watch her temper and obey Petruchio so that he will feed her so she can survive peacefully rather than miserably. I believe that his method of taming her is not cruel yet very effective. He shows her that she can get much farther and live life a lot happier if she is nice and entreats him rather than fighting him.
One author (pattern in carpet) says that Shakespeare sees Katherine and Petruchio as in love at first sight. He says that their fights are partly like a game and partly a matter of egoism. He sees Katherine as testing Petruchio making sure he is man enough to put up with the worst of her and prove to be the husband she requires. Petruchio accepts her challenge with delight (and to get Baptistas money), passes all of her tests with ease and in fact does prove to be a suitable husband.
Petruchio starts to tame her from the very first time they meet. He stays calm when she yells and does exactly the opposite of what she expects him to do. He continues his taming at the wedding by acting even worse than she does, and in a way, he paints a portrait of her for her to see. He believes that if she sees the way she acts by repeating her actions, that she will want to change, to be more pleasant. I think she acts the way she does in part because she doesnt realize what she does and to people and doesnt fully know why people call her the shrew. By repeating how she acts Petruchio not only tames her but he wins her love.
Even on their wedding day Kate is still furious and does not want to marry Petruchio. She begins to declare that she will NOT marry him, but he cuts her off and gives her a kiss. Then he will not even let her stay for her own wedding dinner. I believe that this is all part of his plan to tame her.
In the end of the play, some may say she is tamed, while others will say she has just plainly fallen in love. But any way you chose to look at it, she is definitely a changed person. When the other men call for their wives, they send back a reply stating that they are busy and just plain ignore their husbands commands. On the other hand, when Petruchio beckons Kate all of the men expect her to yell and scream as she always did. But to their surprise obediently came immediately. She even makes a speech to the other girls on how they too should be obedient to their husbands.
Once she is finally tamed, she would do anything to please Petruchio. One author states she would call the sun the moon, and address old Vincentio as a young girl3. She is so tamed by this point that she would even kiss him on a public street at his command. An act like this would have been completely unthinkable at the beginning of the play. He even tries to kiss her in the beginning and she refuses so he must lie to Seignior Baptista to convince him he has done a good job at wooing her. He also says that she has a new-built virtue, that not only wins the wager but it convinces her father to raise her dowry by twenty thousand crowns.
The other view, that she is not really tamed has its arguments as well. Some people see the end of the play as not a sign of obedience, but just change. It is thought that she still has control over what Petruchio does, but in a different, more mind manipulative way. She may be submissive to him, but at the same time, he is just as submissive to her. I think that he didnt only tame her, but she tamed and controls him by craft and not violence.
Katherina is not the only one in the play to undergo a transformation. Petruchio, in the beginning went to woo Katherina only for money. He was offered a dowry by Seignior Baptista to get rid of Kate so he could wed his younger daughter Bianca to one of her many suitors. By the end of the play, it is made clear that Petruchio too changed and had fallen in love with Kate. The relationship that they have at the end of the play is truly love. They both are willing to change to make each other happy and they both try in every way possible to make peace in their family. The ironic part of the play is that they both think that they have control over the other one.
All in all Katherina undergoes a complete metamorphosis from the beginning of the play to the end of the play. She starts out a girl, acting like foal trying to kick free from her harness and ends up a submissive, sweet, gentle and kind woman, whom is controlled yet, controls her husband Petruchio, whom she ends up loving dearly.