Monday, February 20, 2012

In Katherine's Eyes

Sam Montagna
Shakespeare II
Professor Mulready
20 February 2012

In Katherine's Eyes
Katherine is an outspoken woman. She does not want to get married and she is automatically classified as a shrew. Today, people call women that speak their mind a bitch. Katherine would be called that if she were alive today. Katherine would be better off living today because she would have more control over her life. Her father controls everything. The only sense of control she has is her mouth. She does not want to get married so she will scream and yell at men. She will insult her suitors which scares them away. No man wants her at all which is what Katherine prefers. This all changes when Petruccio comes along. He is the epitome of an arrogant jerk. Petruccio does not care how much of a shrew she is. He is only interested in her money. In addition to the money, he wants to tame Katherine. He tells her “For I am he am born to tame you, Kate,” (Shakespeare 194.268). Petruccio wants to take her from the horrid woman she is and subdue her until she is like other “household Kates” (194.270). Today, Petruccio would be the high school jock who gets with a girl just because of the sheer challenge of it, not because he really cares about her. Petruccio vows to tame her and is looking forward to the challenge. He says loves Katherine. I do not think he does, however. I think he loves her money, the challenge of taming her and the control he now has over her. I feel sympathy for Katherine. She was passed off to any man that could stand her opinions. Her father had complete control over her until Petruccio comes along and now he has complete control. Petruccio states “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 anything” (204.100-103). He, in his mind while seemingly praising her, is stating that he owns her completely. She is now his property and he is willing to defend her. According to the footnote on page 204, Petruccio references to the Tenth Commandment when he warns others from looking at his wife/property. Petruccio goes on to say “I'll buckler thee against a million” (204.110). In my opinion, he is either exaggerating about the extent that he will defend her against in the name of love or he views her more as property than as his wife and will defend it to his fullest extent. Men fought over land and possessions throughout history for centuries. Starting a war or fight over property or possessions is not a strange concept. The couple's friends and family think that the couple is well suited or “madly mated” (204.115). Gremio states that “Petruccio is Kated” (204.116). These two lines rhyme like a fairy tale. It's like they believe it is a match made in heaven. At this point in the story, in Katherine's eyes, this match is hell. After all, she has lost all of her freedom and control and now an attempt to change her attitude and her identity will be made by her husband, who is supposed to love her as she is unconditionally.


Malissa Arjoon-Jerry said...

I like how you linked the characters from the story to a present day scenario, like Katherine being called a bitch and Petruccio being a high school jock. The way they act makes them seem that is how they would act in today's world. I agree that Petruccio doesn't love Katherine and is only after her money. Back then, that is what marriages were consisted of, who had the most money. I don't like the fact that Petruccio says he owns Katherine. No one should be owned and I don't like that she just accepts the fact of being owned and doesn't fight back.

Cyrus Mulready said...

There are many provocative points in this post, including the nice observation about the Ten Commandments. I also appreciate your broader appreciation of how ageless this story is, Sam!

~Ariel~ said...

I just cannot decide if Petruccio wants Katherine or her money. I thnk it might have started out that way, he agreed to the marriage so quickly, but I also think that during thier verbal sparring he may have chnged. I believe that Katherine does love him. She finally finds someone who she can call an equal, and Petruccio knows that she is a handful, he likes that about her. It was just the time period to consider wives and women in general property, but I think Pertuccio gives Katherine plenty of respect because she is so quick witted. He could have just abandoned the conquest but when she fired back with her quick retorts I think she hooked him.