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The Taming of the shrew : theme of rule and subjection

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  • Psychology


-33- A)(li}f~ *~.&m.:rr.*~)(~mH2~ ~H8~ m117i"ffi} 1996if33J[--47 J[ The Taming of the Shrew: Theme of Rule and Subjection Masashi Sugii In the play, Katherina is transformed from a defiant daughter into an obedient wife. Is the process her mental growth, or the establishment of Petruchio's rule? Some critics argue that, in spite of Petruchio's rough treatment of his wife, Katherina loves him and obeys him of her own accord. They discuss that, in the last scene, she follows him as a game and plays the part of an obedient wife. l These interpretations seem natural in terms of human psychology. We cannot, however, agree with such views if we consider the characteristics of Shakespeare's early comedies - excessive rhetoric and his unique dramaturgy. The play provides "a certain arbitrarily limited sense of personality." 2 Kohshi Nakanori comments that "most of the heroines in the romances of the medieval ages were ideal symbols of chivalry romance or Neoplatonism." 3 This play presents an antithesis of such view of love. Medieval romances presented the man's obedience to the woman in the spiritual world. The Taming of the Shrew presents a complete opposite, the man's dominance over the woman in the material world. In the play, so much emphasis is placed upon hierarchical relationship between men and women that we can't accept the theory of Katherina's voluntary love or submission. The play also provides the class difference between master and servant. It is, therefore, indispensable for understanding the play to make a close examination of the relationships among characters in the play. So the most effective approach is to scrutinize the process (773 ) -34- in which the interest about the theme of rule and subjection is being made and to examine the complicated network of the words related to the theme. The purpose of this paper is to consider the relationship between Petruchio and Katherina from this viewpoint. I The first subject for our consideration IS Katherina's tran

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