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Shakespeare uses specific form in order to exploit and present various characters in various manners, in the situations involving Katherina; we can derive Katherina’s mental capacity due to the fact that she speaks in iambic/pentametre, instead of prose like lesser characters such as Grumio. This language specification means we know she has the ability to mentally manipulate Petruchio; which she does. This strengthens the view of -Katherina not being tamed.

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Shakespeare’s structural writing in this play depicts the evolution of Katherina, this can be looked at as the evolution of Katherina from being a shrew to being tamed, for example in act 2 scene1, Katherina’s language shows her shrewdness, ”Asses are made to bear and so are you”. In the following acts, as the structure progresses her language evolves and adapts depending on the situation, such as act 4 scene 3 line 44, “I pray you let it stand” At this stage Katherina has no control over the situations at hand, due to Katherina’s mental strength she can be said to develop a technique to exert some degree of control over Peruchio, this is clearly visible in Act 4 scene 5, on the road to Padua, she agrees with Petruchio In order to achieve her specific aim of visiting her father,

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“I know it is the moon” As the situation and structure evolve Katherina displays the ability to adapt, this leaves a standing though of the fact that Katherina hasn’t in fact been tamed but is being intelligent and manipulative. Measuring Katherina’s speech in Act 5, serves as the audience’s measuring yardstick. The speech gives the audience the choice and the material needed in order to decide upon and decipher the speech and to see if Katherina has been tamed, Shakespeare does this through the language Katherina uses in the speech, this is because of the double meanings and ironies that can be attained from Katherina’s speech, for example;

“I am ashamed that women are so simple” This line can be said to coerce women into developing ways to manipulate their husbands in order to get what they need. Katherina offers women alternative ‘control; through her speech; during the course of her speech from lines 165 to 169 she says; “Why are our bodies soft and week and smooth unapt to toil and trouble in the world, but that out soft conditions and our hearts should well agree with out external parts” The above extract from her speech can be taken to mean that Katherina seeks to coerce women into using physicals means, i.e. sex to attain a certain degree of control over their lives and husbands. In upholding this view it is obvious that Katherina has not been tamed but is using more refined techniques in order to educate other women.

Shakespeare uses a lot of imagery to present Katherina in the play, the dominant theme of Katherina’s image representation is mostly animalistic, Katherina is compared to animals by various characters in the play, Gremio the play’s pantaloon uses language related to animals to describe her, ” To cart her rather! She’s too rough for me” The use of the word cart is associated with the transportation of wild animals and beasts in cages, most carted animals are wild and untamed. Katherina, being described as a wild and untamed animal is a possible technique used by Shakespeare to alert the audience to the beastly nature of Katherina.

Katherina is also represented using satanic imagery, this is a form of representation which underlines the extent of her shrewdness, and it also gives the audience or reader the ability to weigh up or measure the extent of Katherina’s untamed nature in comparison to the way her behaviour is in later stages of the play. ”For shame, thou hiding of a devilish spirit” The describing quote above which is in act 2, when compared with Katherina’s behaviour in later acts shows her refined form, and leaves the reader with no doubt of her refined techniques in shrewdness, in act 5 scene 2, Lucentio describes Katherina thus; ”There is a wonder, if you talk of a wonder”.

This shows how her behaviour and attitude have change with an advancement in structure, her language has changed, the form of words used in describing her have also changed, the words are free and flowing, which almost identically represents her new behavioural attributes. To conclude, Shakespeare’s presentation of Katherina’s taming using form, language and structure, strongly lean over to the fact that she has not been tamed, but with the same use of writing techniques, Shakespeare was able to provide a system of double entendre which would show Katherina in a different light depending on how literal the play was taken by various audiences and readers.

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Kylie Garcia

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