illustration of Kate and Petruchio standing and staring at one another

The Taming of the Shrew

by William Shakespeare

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What is Kate's perspective on a wife's relationship with her husband in this quote from The Taming of the Shrew?

"I see a woman may be made a fool, if she had not the spirit to resist."

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In Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, in Act Three, scene two, Kate still believes that if she has a strong enough will, she will get what she wants. She thinks that only a woman who lack "spirit" will be a "fool"—in letting her husband get the best of her.

I see a woman may be made a fool,
If she had not a spirit to resist. (lines 220-221)

Kate has made her wishes clear that she does not wish to leave the wedding feast. She gives orders that all should proceed to the celebration; she comments that by being tough with Petruchio, she will get her way. However, Petruchio is not buying it. He agrees that any who serves Kate should go ahead and totally enjoy the wedding celebration of Kate's marriage, but he insists that Kate will not be joining them because he wants to leave. If he wants to leave, he intimates, then he and his wife shall do so, which dashes Kate's perceptions into pieces.

We can see that the war has not yet begun between these two, but they are now married, and as Petruchio puts it, she "belongs" to him just as do his house, field and barn, etc.

I will be master of what is mine own:
She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,
My household stuff, my field, my barn,
My horse, my ox, my ass, my any thing...  (229-232)

This disagreement foreshadows what lies ahead of the newlywed couple. Kate has too long had her own way in most things; she is now married to a man who also seems to feel the same way, but the law and the social norms are on his side.

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