How Does Petruchio Tame Katherine?

In William Shakespeare’s play “The Taming of the Shrew,” the protagonist Petruchio “tames” his newly married wife Kate by matching her wit, by embarrassing her at their wedding, by keeping her from eating and drinking and by forcing her to agree with everything he says. Although Kate is widely viewed by her own family members to be a shrew, Petruchio’s techniques make her docile and subservient.

At their own wedding, Petruchio embarrasses Kate by arriving late, wearing a ridiculous outfit, and then forcing her to leave her own wedding when she does not want to. Petruchio then announces, “This is a way to kill a wife with kindness,” and insists that she cannot eat his food because it is not good enough for her, keeps her from sleeping because his bed is not worthy of her and takes back her gifts of jewelry and clothing because they are not worthy of her. She because fatigued and hungry as a result of this, and falls prey to his manipulations. Petruchio then keeps Kate from attending her own sister’s wedding unless she agrees with everything he says, forcing her to consent to ridiculously false statements.

Although “The Taming of the Shrew” is a comedy, it is also controversial among modern audiences because of Petruchio’s sometimes abusive manipulation of Kate.