The Taming of the Shrew: Character Portraits

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The Taming of the Shrew: Character Portraits

Petruccio and Katherina are a seemingly unlikely pair for marriage, but through a series of events, their marriage proves not to be all that hopeless. Katherina is a shrewd, foul-tempered woman. She lashes out verbally and physically at all the men as an attempt to mask her hurt, which stems from Baptista’s apparent favoritism towards her younger sister Bianca. Kate is proud, independent, and intelligent, unwilling to submit herself to play the role of an obedient wife. Yet she worries that she will remain forever unwedded. This feeling is the catalyst for change in her personality by Petruccio. Petruccio is selfish and greedy, and he initially wishes to marry Kate for economic reasons. He views his marriage with Kate as a challenge, and he is determined to tame Kate to become the dominant husband in the relationship. With their first encounter, Petruccio matches Kate’s linguistic skills, wit, and willpower. He is adamant about his position for the need to tame Kate, and slowly changes her through his vindictive strategy. He withdraws items of comfort and necessity, such as food sleep, and warmth, from Kate whenever she contradicts him, all in the name of love. Unknowingly to Kate, Petruccio is also providing her a chance to escape from her image. Slowly, Kate realizes that it does her no good to be shrewd, and begins to counteract her husband’s strategy by agreeing with him, even under preposterous situations. Under Petruccio’s taming process, they have grown to love each other and it is under these harsh conditions where they have built a foundation for a strong, lasting relationship.

Lucentio and Bianca have a foil relationship as Petruccio and Kate. Bianca is obedient, soft-spoken, sweet, and beautiful. Lucentio first meets Bianca while eavesdropping on a conversation between the Minola’s, Gremio and Hortensio. Immediately, he is entranced by her beauty and vows that he must win her over. He puts...