Consequently, he knows he will win, thus winning a beautiful bride as well as the dowry. The final speech is proof that he has changed Katherina from an independent male to the woman that she is. He only plays the game to obtain the ideal marriage. Eventually they learn to love each other. In a play that is open for interpretation, the audience maintains many different points of view. One supposition is that Katherina has not been tamed yet, and is only playing along with Petruchio’s game to stop his abusive treatment.
Another way of explaining it is that because for the first time in her life Katherina has realized that somebody actually cares about her enough to refine her, she gives up her discourteous past and sets off on a promising and happy future. I think that ultimately, Katherina changed from the Shrew into the acceptable wife because she has come to terms with her role as a woman, and realized that she has found love by becoming submissive to anything she disagrees with.
How have Kate’s opinions and language changed since the early acts of the play? The first sentence Katherina has uttered in the play is “I pray you, sir, is it your will to make a stale of me amongst these mates?”. In Shakespearean times, for a young woman to use language such as “stale” and “mate”, would have been considered rude and controversial. This is language of a typical male in those days, just as Katherina seems to be.
This view supports how her language and opinions have changed from the beginning to the end of the play. The first impression of Katherina tends to be that she is as rude as a spoilt child and in the same way that the child needs to be taught manners, Katherina needs to be tamed. The irony in this case is that Bianca is infact the spoilt child especially when Baptista showers her with compliments. This puts negative influence on Katherina, as her hatred towards Bianca grows with every passing day. “A pretty peat! It is best put finger in the eye and she knew why.” Towards the end of the play, when she gives her speech, it is easily noticeable that her language and views have changed. It makes Katherina appear to be calm and gentle.
The first signs of change in Katherina appear in Act 3, Scene 2 after their wedding, when Tranio and Gremio moth ask Petruchio to stay till after dinner. Thinking that is would make a difference; Katherina sweetly tells Petruchio “Let me entreat you”. Obviously you see that she is only playing along, trying to get her way as Bianca does with Baptista. As her refuses, it makes you realize that Petruchio is not easily manipulated and will only treat Katherina as an equal when she treats others in the same way.
Later on in the same conversation, she says “I see a woman may be made a fool If she had not a spirit to resist”. This is vital, in witnessing the change from this scene, to her final speech because in the end, she indeed has no resistance and gives her total and utter submission. “Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, Thy head, Thy sovereign; one that cares for thee”
We witness a big change in Act 4, Scene 5, when Katherina and Petruchio are on their journey back to Padua, and they stop for a rest. This is a a key moment in the play when the reader begins to understand how not only, has Katherina become gentle and kind, but also a slave to her husband’s will. Petruchio then tests Katherina to ensure that she has indeed changed for good. Petruchio: I say it is the moon. Katherina I know it is the moon. Petruchio: Nay then you lie, it is the blessed sun Katherina: Then God be blessed, it is the blessed sun Why has Katherina Changed.
Katherina’s opinion of men has changed from “Mate” “a jade” and “stale” to “thy lord, thy king, thy governor” by the end of the play, in the final speech. This is in no doubt, the climax of the story. It highlights the change in Katherina’s personality as it does to the content and language of the play. She talks of men as superior whilst degrading Bianca and the widow for the disrespect they have towards their men. In this speech Katherina says “A woman moved is like a fountain troubled, Muddy, Ill-seaming, thick, bereft of beauty, and while it is so, none so dry or thirsty, Will deign to sip, or touch one drop of it.”
This quote is the perfect example of everything Katherina was at the beginning of the play. It is a physical image, putting emphasis on the point that a man won’t touch an upset woman because it is like drinking corrupt water. It is a brilliant admission of what she once was. Petruchio has tamed Katherina, into a beautiful, clear fountain. This indeed is ironic, because Bianca “the white”, is yet to be cleared. Katherina once had abused males in the ways in which she was abused by Petruchio , and by learning from her mistakes, she tried to teach the others.
In Act 2, Scene 1, when Petruchio first meets Katherina, he greets her as Kate, to which she defensively replies “well have you heard, but something hard of hearing, They call me Katherina that do talk of me”. Having led a life full of aggression and male attitude, Katherina uses a defense mechanism to defend herself with. Initially, she treats males as subordinates. I feel that in order to escape from her insecurities, she affronts others to make herself feel superior.
One can empathize with Katherina because she had no female role model to venerate. Another reason I sympathize her is because for the majority of her life, she is deemed to have been treated worse than her younger sister Bianca. This is obvious in the way Baptista speaks to Bianca “For I will love thee ne’er the less,my girl”. Katherina not only uses her defense mechanisms towards Petruchio, but she sarcastically tells Baptista how good of a father he is when he tries to wed her to Petruchio. I presume that another reason behind her defensive behavior is how Baptista considers Bianca as his jewel, in contrast to the way he feels about Katherina.