illustration of Kate and Petruchio standing and staring at one another

The Taming of the Shrew

by William Shakespeare

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Kate changes from a shrew to an obedient wife in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. Please provide 3 reasons to prove this statement with examples. Please include ideas for thesis statement to prove this.

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We have to keep in mind that the Taming of the Shrew is a play within a play, meaning that Shakespeare is going to pains to actually show us the unreality of a man actually being able to successfully "tame" his wife as Petruchio does.

That being said, this is an easy thesis to prove because the text provides plenty of evidence that Kate has become a docile wife by the end of the action. One way Petruchio tames her is through killing her with "kindness": being so over solicitous about food and drink that Kate can neither eat nor sleep. He also whisks her away from her wedding very quickly and isolates her away from friends and family. With no one to turn to, not enough to eat, and no sleep, three main methods Petruchio uses to control her, she capitulates. What he does is sadistic, but apparently—at least in this fictive universe—effective.

Proof of Kate's new role as obedient wife can be found in the following quote from act 5:

Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign, one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labor both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe,
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience—
Too little payment for so great a debt.
In a thesis statement you could mention that Kate's transformation from a shrew to an obedient wife is depicted in act 5 through her many words that show she now regards her husband as her ruler.
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Katherine becomes the image of a dutiful wife by the end of “Taming of the Shrew” because Petruchio embarrasses her publicly, isolates her from her family and friends, and wears her down with constant tortuous methods.

The embarrassment begins on their wedding day, when Petruchio arrives late to the ceremony, causing Katherine to flee in tears. When he finally does arrive, he is accoutred in a mismatched, shabby outfit and riding a broken-down, diseased horse. The crowds in Padua who have gathered to witness the marriage delight in the hideous spectacle of Petruchio’s appearance. This embarrassment is the first tactic Petruchio uses to control Katherine. To prevent future embarrassment, Katherine knows she will have to change her ways.

To make things worse, Petruchio insists on whisking Katherine away immediately after their vows, not even allowing her to receive congratulations from her guests, father, and sister. When she objects, Petruchio asserts that she is now his property and must do as he instructs. Because he physically separates her from familiar surroundings so soon after the wedding, Katherine is compelled to do as he says or face total isolation from any other living soul. He makes her dependent upon him, which forces her to change her habits.

Once they arrive at his country estate, Petruchio employs a variety of...

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techniques to further grind down Katherine’s independent spirit. First, he prevents her from eating dinner by pretending that the food his servants have prepared is unfit to eat. Then, he prevents her from sleeping because he fusses about the bed being uncomfortable. In doing these things, Petruchio exaggerates his rage and throws ostentatious tantrums that are much worse than the “shrewish” behavior Katherine earlier displayed. Sleep deprived, hungry, and aghast at her new husband’s disagreeableness, Katherine finally gives up.

To prove Katherine’s full transformation as an obedient wife, Petruchio makes a bet with Lucentio and Hortensio at the banquet as their wives leave to talk amongst themselves. To Lucentio and Hortensio’s amazement, Katherine proves herself the most subservient of all: she is the first to return at her husband’s request, she retrieves the other wives, and she even delivers a speech in front of everyone about the proper way a wife should behave.

Katherine becomes the perfect wife because Petruchio emotionally and psychologically manipulates her until she has no other choice but to conform to his expectations.

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