The Taming of the Shrew
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Katherina

If I be waspish, best beware my sting.

[2.1.211]

Also called

  • ‘Fiend of hell’ [Gremio 1.1.89],
  • ‘Katherine the curst’ [Grumio 1.2.127],
  • ‘Lusty wench’ [Petruchio 2.1.159],
  • ‘My lovely bride’ [Petruchio 3.2.91],
  • ‘My bonny Kate,’ [Petruchio 3.2.229]

Relationship Status

Single

Character biography

I am the oldest daughter of a rich merchant named Baptista who wants me to get married before my younger sister Bianca. Everyone loves Bianca because she is quiet and sweet, and Hortensio, Gremio and Lucentio have all asked to marry her, but my father won’t allow her to get married until I do. The last thing I want to do is get married and obey a man, which is what I will be expected to do as a wife, so I am doing everything I can to scare away any potential suitors. People say I am unladylike because I am crass and violent, but I refuse to be subservient and tame like my sister. Occasionally I’m jealous of the attention and praise Bianca gets, but I would never let her know that. Lately a boisterous and annoying man named Petruchio has been trying to win my hand in marriage, much to my father’s delight.

Orders around…

Grumio

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Locked Content

Leading Ladies and Gentlemen
– Padua’s Celebrity Magazine

Interview

LLG: Welcome to this interview with one of our ‘leading ladies’ Katherina Minola. Now Katherina, or would you rather I call you Kate?

Katherina: My name is Katherina. I do not like being called Kate. I don’t understand why people cannot respect that. I know they call me other names too – even my own father agrees with them.

LLG: How does that make you feel?

Katherina: I just think I will ignore it as people calling me names shows that they don’t know me. I am my own woman and I will behave as I want.

LLG: So, Kate you live at home with your family. How is it living at home?

Katherina: It is so frustrating. I am at the end of my patience!

LLG: Tell us about that

Katherina: I am forced to stay at home with my sister and father. I am not allowed out unaccompanied and have to wait until someone marries me. It makes me mad. If I was a man I would be free to do as I please and go around and look for my own wife or even not marry at all. I mean why must this be the case just because I was born a woman? How can that be right?

LLG: How does your father react to your ideas?

Katherina: He doesn’t like them! He thinks my feelings don’t count and he will do what he wants to get me married and off his hands. I am not going to make this easy for him because if I was a son and not a daughter he wouldn’t be constantly going on at me. All he does is keep trying to find men to marry me and force me to have tutors trying to make me better! What do they know? I don’t give them an easy time I can tell you.

LLG: What about your younger sister Bianca, do you get on with her?

Katherina: She drives me crazy! If my father knew what she really thinks, he would not think she was so wonderful. She just sits there and pretends to accept everything he wants her to do. I know she must feel as frustrated as me, but she just keeps quiet. I’m sure she thinks that is the right way to behave – we have been told often enough that women should be seen and not heard – that is not the way I want to live my life. I just wish she would say what she really thinks then I wouldn’t feel so isolated – I am the only woman in Padua who seems to have a mind and a will of her own.

LLG: So what do you hope will happen?

Katherina: I just wish everything would change so women are treated the same as men and not second class and the possessions of men!

LLG: Thank-you for being so honest and open with us and good luck with your hopes for change.