The Taming of the Shrew Essay

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A key question in interpreting The Taming of the Shrew is whether Shakespeare presents Petruchio as an admirable character or as an offensive one. Closely related is the matter of his motives for wanting to marry Katherina and his goals in "taming" her. Productions of the play have differed widely in their answers to these questions, as have the critics.

Many writers point to Petruchio's energy, imagination, and firmness of purpose as qualities that make him an attractive character. Others, such as Cecil C. Seronsy (in the section on APPEARANCE VS. REALITY ), regard him as an exceptionally perceptive man able to recognize possibilities in Katherina's character that no one else in the play suspects. Most modern critics, like Alexander Leggatt and H. J. Oliver interpret Petruchio's outrageous behavior as a role he assumes in order to shake Katherina out of her shrewishness. Leggatt portrays Petruchio's treatment of Katherina...

(read more from the Critical Essay #16 section)

This section contains 2,088 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Taming of the Shrew Study Guide
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The Taming of the Shrew from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.