Katherina Speech in The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare - Essay Example

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This essay “Katherina Speech in The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare” will examine two essential aspects relating to the monologue spoken by the character, Katherina, in Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”. The language choices made by the writer will form the first part of the writing…
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Katherina Speech in The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
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Download file to see previous pages This is on the face of it a complete change for Katherina – she has become subservient to her husband, and is suggesting that two other women also become so to their husbands. Her earlier independence and the resistance she displayed toward the control of her husband seem to have disappeared. Comments on language usage Shakespeare’s use of language in the words Katherina speaks in this performance reveals much of the meaning of the speech, while the possible staging of this scene (and particularly this speech) could be open to creative staging for any modern director, depending on an individual interpretation. Despite the suggestions that Shakespeare was reasonably forward-thinking about the institution of marriage for a man of his time, the language he has used in this text does reveal a particularly negative view of the position of women in marriage, particularly to a modern audience. There are positive aspects of how women are portrayed in marriage: “love fair looks” (line 18) according to Thompson (1985: 28). ...
The position of women as inferior and even subservient to men is clear from instances of language usage in this passage. The Divine Right of Kings – with the monarch being appointed by the Christian God, and having rights over the life and death of subjects – is clearly emphasized in line 3. Husbands are referred to as “…thy lord, thy king, thy governor,” and the repetition of the structure of the phrases (possessive pronoun followed by a noun) strengthens the feeling that women must be completely subject to men on each level, and must follow the rules made by their husbands. Placing even more emphasis on this notion is the fact that the iambic pentameter forces the three-syllable structure of the word “governor” at the end of line 3 to be highlighted. Thus the word is emphasized by its position at the end of the line, its three-syllable use in the iambic pentameter (it also straddles two iambuses) and the fact that, additionally, it forms an imperfect rhyme with “brow” (line 1) (Fowler, 1926: 615). Another technique Shakespeare has used is to very clear contrast and balance statements with identical grammatical structure with each other so that the women on the stage whom Katherina is addressing (and the audience) are persuaded that women should welcome their subservience. For example, women should not be striving for “rule, supremacy and sway” but rather should “serve, love and obey” (lines 28, 29). Additionally, in this example, rhyme is used to emphasize the opposite meanings of the words sway and obey – indeed women should be satisfied to obey men, rather than seek to have influence, according to the character and Shakespeare.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead more
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