It is scarcely possible to consider the character of Katharina with gravity; her shrewishness is so wildly extravagant, so inconceivable in any maiden, "young, beauteous, and brought up as best becomes a gentlewoman," that she may serve but as the heroine
of the extravaganza wherein she figures -- and as a burlesque
"moral and example" to those "not impossible shes" who are cursed, within the bounds of probability, with her unamiable proclivities.
The predicaments of this brawling Kate are extremely ludicrous; but we cannot be so charitable towards her peculiar sin
against womanhood as to pity them, even when she is most hardly
pressed -- she deserves even more than she suffers, at the hands of
her mad Petruchio; and the outward fruits of her trials and tribulations are highly satisfactory. Nevertheless, we own we have but
little faith in the enduring quality of a "taming" which is procured
by almost the same means as are employed in the subduing of a
wild animal, and by a husband who neither loves nor is loved by
her; we much fear that -- the keeper and his lash out of sight -- this human wild-cat, "convinced against her will," would be "of
the same opinion still."
One is amused at Hazlitt's absurdities about Petruchio's metamorphosing his wife's senses at his will -- as if he believed that
Katharina actually sees what her husband pretends to see; so far from affording satisfaction to a man of less blunted sensibilities
than her husband, Kate's ready acquiescence in his palpable nonsense would be full of sarcasm, ten times more insulting, more
spiteful, than her honest railing.
How to cite this article:
Palmer, Henrietta L. The Stratford gallery, or, The Shakespeare sisterhood. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1859. Shakespeare Online. 20 Oct. 2009. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/characters/sisterhoodkatharina.html >.