home contact

The Shakespeare Sisterhood: Katharina

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) < >.

Related Articles

 Elements of Shakespearean Comedy
 The Taming of the Shrew: Plot Summary
 The Taming of the Shrew: Q & A
 More on Katharina
 Introduction to Petruchio
 The Most Famous Quotations from The Taming of the Shrew

 Elements of Shakespearean Comedy
 Types of Shakespearean Comedy
 Why Shakespeare is so Important
 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Boss: The Master of Revels

Previous: Perdita         Next: The Abbess

Katharina. From A Stratford Gallery.