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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm not sure that Baptista can be characterized as a poor father, but he isn't perfect either. He does his best to find good husbands for both his daughters, trying to insure that each of them will  have material comforts by finding each daughter a wealthy husband. Baptista doesn't need to have his daughters' approvals of the matches he makes for them, as this is the custom of that time. Arranged marriages for daughters were considered to be a duty of the father and/or mother during this period of time in many cultures. So I don't think we can fault Baptista for not caring whether Kate and Bianca are in love with the men their father chooses.

However, Baptista probably woudn't win the father of the year award either. He feels that Kate is a shrew and that it will be more difficult to find a husband for her.  As far as Kate is concerned, Baptista is willing to accept behavior of possible mates for Kate he probably wouldn't accept in Bianca's suitors. This is why he's willing to put up with the public embarrassment at Kate's wedding when Petruchio comes dressed inappropriately. After her marriage, Baptista even bets against Kate in the contest to see who is the most dutiful wife. It's one thing to be realistic about your child's personality and quite another to wager money on a negative aspect of her personality.

bobocello | Student

I don't think Baptista is a good father. Although it is his duty to choose a husband for Katharine, he does not really care who will marry her because everyone knows that she is bad-tempered and nobody wants to be her husband. He also allows the embarrassment of Petruchio on the wedding- he wears an ancient coat and an enormous hat. After the Bianca's wedding, Baptista (with Lucentio and Hortensio) even bets with Petruchio about whose wife is the most dutiful. This behaviour shows that he doesn't think that Katharine can change her character.

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The Taming of the Shrew

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