Event Title

True Kates and Ironic Kates: An Examination of Kate's Final Speech in The Taming of the Shrew

Faculty Mentor

Matthew Fike, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

English

Location

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 221

Start Date

24-4-2015 3:20 PM

Description

The tone of Kate's final speech in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew remains one of the most important questions that the audience must address. While some critics like Melinda Kingsbury and Michael Shurgot focus mostly on how character directions affect Kate's speech, others like John Cox and H. J. Oliver have examined the importance of the Induction, which features Christopher Sly. However, the relationship between Kate and Sly has not received sufficient analysis. In fact, the Induction provides a key to understanding Kate’s intent. This paper uses Sly and the theme of illusion to argue that the true nature of Kate's final speech is ironic. The Induction and the final speech are like the play’s bookends: as with Sly, so with Kate. Many parallels between the two characters suggest that they both further the theme of illusion. For example, both are placed in an unfamiliar environment and are called upon to play a new role. Initially, both resist; eventually, both conform. But whereas Sly is a dupe, Kate achieves a feat of “self-fashioning” through the understanding and manipulation of illusion. As a result, her final speech is ironic because she exaggerates the role of the dutiful wife she has to some extent become. Illusion is thus a way in which she and Petruchio express their kindred spirits in the final scene. Her speech is a fun prank. Unlike Sly, who is consumed by illusion, Kate wields it to bring the play to a satisfying close.

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Apr 24th, 3:20 PM

True Kates and Ironic Kates: An Examination of Kate's Final Speech in The Taming of the Shrew

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 221

The tone of Kate's final speech in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew remains one of the most important questions that the audience must address. While some critics like Melinda Kingsbury and Michael Shurgot focus mostly on how character directions affect Kate's speech, others like John Cox and H. J. Oliver have examined the importance of the Induction, which features Christopher Sly. However, the relationship between Kate and Sly has not received sufficient analysis. In fact, the Induction provides a key to understanding Kate’s intent. This paper uses Sly and the theme of illusion to argue that the true nature of Kate's final speech is ironic. The Induction and the final speech are like the play’s bookends: as with Sly, so with Kate. Many parallels between the two characters suggest that they both further the theme of illusion. For example, both are placed in an unfamiliar environment and are called upon to play a new role. Initially, both resist; eventually, both conform. But whereas Sly is a dupe, Kate achieves a feat of “self-fashioning” through the understanding and manipulation of illusion. As a result, her final speech is ironic because she exaggerates the role of the dutiful wife she has to some extent become. Illusion is thus a way in which she and Petruchio express their kindred spirits in the final scene. Her speech is a fun prank. Unlike Sly, who is consumed by illusion, Kate wields it to bring the play to a satisfying close.