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Names in Taming of the Shrew Essay

  • Submitted by: gabylevy
  • on November 25, 2012
  • Category: Shakespeare
  • Length: 929 words

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Below is an essay on "Names in Taming of the Shrew" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

How people name themselves tells you a lot about their character. In William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of The Shrew,” characters’ names and meanings of words take on a particular level of importance. As a play that centers around people’s individual temperaments and attitudes, and the ability to morph them (or the lack thereof), their names become almost manifestations of their character. In addition to using characters’ names as crucial aspects of their personas, he also uses the multiple meanings of words and names to add a level of intellectual complexity to the play.
The focus on names in the play falls second to the focus on patriarchal domination during that time. It is a supplemental, yet crucial aspect of the story. The main male character, Patruchio, knowingly and purposefully shortens Katherine’s name to Kate, to exert his power over her.   Aware of her temper, and stubbornness, he plans to “tame” her and mold her into a stereotypical, obedient wife, and one way he begins doing that, is by calling her Kate- a name she extremely resents. “They call me Katherine, that do talk of me” (2.1.182). In using her shortened name it is a form of diminution, in which he seeks to reduce the personal strength using her full name gives to her. Because she has never met her match in wits and pertinacious character she is easily effected by his actions, and as soon as he makes it clear that she will answer to Kate, she becomes a much more vulnerable character than originally thought possible. From that point he is able to slowly conform her, “she will rationally choose to please him and encourage his generosity rather than, as he says, continue evermore crossing him in futile imitation of birds whose wings have been clipped-birds that are already enclosed but nonetheless continue to try and fly free” (Boose, 180).
Shakespeare also takes creative liberty in using words that vary in meaning, greatly contributing tho the cleverness and intricacy of the play. The term...

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