Katharina then delivers a speech to all the invited individuals and the other wives, after dragging them with her, conveying fully her unanticipated change in character. She refers to her husband as “thy lord, thy king, thy governor”, and previously in act two she called him a “fool”. Her change in character and the fact Petruchio has won the battle, he has “tamed” her, is conveyed by the two contrasting quotes. During Katharina’s speech to teach woman how to treat their husbands, she depicts woman using a simile “A woman moved is a fountain troubled”.
Shakespeare exploits this simile to illustrate the comparison of woman to beauty, woman and beauty must be kept tranquil to retain beautiful. Another poetic devise Shakespeare utilizes is a metaphor of “unable worms”, Katharina proclaims the position of woman in marriage, as a result. She suggests that women are feeble creatures, they have no authority or hardly any say in the decision made in the marriage and they are dependant upon their husbands, they rely on them to protect them in life.
There are indications in her lecture that she may have given up, as a result of her feeling ineffectual towards Petruchio. She exploits another metaphor, “But now I see our lances are but straws”, revealing that she has nothing to fight for anymore as anything she attempts to do, Petruchio comes out winning, the power and control she felt she once had she has no more. Katharina’s use of hyperbole has many different interpretations in her speech, “place your hands below your husband’s foot”.
The audiences viewing the play would deem that Katharina mocking Petruchio and talking it a bit too far then the customary. At the beginning of the play, the audience see Katharina as a violent and rebellious character who is pugnacious unalike other women of her era. The audience gradually witness Katharina’s character breaking down, by a self-centred and sexist man “Petruchio” who only wishes to marry Katharina, for the handsome compensation he will receive for accepting Baptista’s offer.
During Petruchio’s challenge in act two scene two, when he attempts to “tame” Katharina the audience notice and realise that she is unlike other women, as she is an intelligent and independent woman. She is aware of and comprehends issues she shouldn’t, like her understanding about sex, exploited when she herself and Petruchio exchange a series of puns with one another. Her dramatic transformation in character is partially portrayed at the end of the play when she delivers her lecture to the audience.
Even though the conclusion in Katharina’s character can be interpretated differently, the fact remains that she has been “tamed” by Petruchio. Audiences from the present era and the Elizabethan era would have totally contrasting emotions on her change in character. A modern audience would want Katharina to maintain her character, as they would be proud and respect that she is sticking up for herself and being a spokesperson for woman in the play. An Elizabethan audience would be bewildered by Katharina’s character as it wasn’t something they’d witness before as men had total domination and respect in there era.
They would approve the affliction she receives by Petruchio as he “tames” her and would be pleased with Katharina’s dramatic change in character at the end of the play. An Elizabethan audience is more likely to believe she has completely converted as a person and is speaking from her heart when she delivers her speech, this is because in there era it would have been more believable for a woman to praise her husband even to Katharina’s extent rather then cursing and fighting with them.
However a modern audience wouldn’t be fooled so easily and is more likely to believe she is faking her speech. They would believe that she only said what she stated in her speech as she’s simply given up and she can’t don’t anything else but conduct herself in the way which is expected of her by everyone. This attitude would be conveyed as in modern society where males and females are considered equal, contrasting previous beliefs undoubted by an Elizabethan audience that females are inferior to males.