I am directing the scene where big changes take place between Katherina and Petruchios’ relationship as husband and wife. Katherina’s behaviour changes radically now that she is married to Petruchio and it seems so strange judging by her manner in the previous scenes. It is out of the ordinary because we are used to hearing the couple quarrel and contradict over everything. This takes place in the scenes before when Petruchio is determined to tame his wife by doing all sorts of cruel things to her such as, starving and depriving Katherina from her sleep all to break her spirit. However she stood up for herself by arguing with frustration so we will definitely notice a turning point. I am curious to know whether she is really tamed by Petruchio or is she just playing along.
When Vicentio appears in the scene, it becomes quite amusing and humorous as Petruchio describes him as a ‘heavenly’ young lady to see how Katherina’s will react to this. We also anticipate on what will happen when Vicentio arrives in Padua and finds out someone is claiming to be the father of his son. To direct act 4 Scene 5 I will need to look for the important lines starting with Katherina saying, ‘ The moon? The sun! It is not the moonlight now’, to make the audience understand she is shocked and puzzled by what Petruchio has said, she must emphasise the word ‘moon’ followed by a pause and then use a reassuring voice to say ‘the sun’. When she says ‘now’ she must also try to use some emphasise to show the audience she’s positive it isn’t moonlight now.
Her posture and tone of voice will make it obvious to the audience that she is aware of his stupidity. It would be best if she stood with her weight on one leg one and hands on her waist. Her position shows she doesn’t want to tolerate this ludicrous conversation and shows she is beginning to get annoyed. However she turns to face the audience raising and rolling her eyes so they have a better understanding of her astonishment after listening to what he had said.
Petruchio answers back to Katherina with ‘ I say it is the moon that shines so bright’. He should remain calm and try to show who is boss by keeping to his word. He must emphasise the word moon by raising his voice to sound confident and sure about his claim. Katherina is eager to make him understand that it is the sun and not the moon, so she tries to change his statement ‘I know it is the sun that shines so bright’. In this quote we notice her old personality coming out because she should pronounce this with her volume increasing so we know she is clearly disagreeing and hear the anger seep through her voice. Her wording sounds more convincing because she says ‘I know’ whereas Petruchio uses ‘I say’, this shows us she is more certain than he is.
When Petruchio says, ‘it shall be moon or star or what I list’ he should sound serious but unruffled and sustain his confidence to make us think he is always right without hesitation. Perhaps he is trying to find a way to baffle Katherina so she loses’ her confidence and makes him look of a higher status. However hearing Katherina argue with his decision bursts his bubble of tolerance. This makes him threaten to take her back, ‘Go on and fetch our horses back again’. He says this to the servant so Petruchio should sound in charge and almost like he is taking his anger out on them by shouting and possibly hitting and shoving him. I think his reaction is aimed to make Katherina feel guilty and regret what she said so in order to make things better for the both of them the audience already know she must agree with what he says.
Katherina does this by trying to set things straight and make him reconsider, ‘be it moon or sun or what you please’. Here is where the new Katherina comes out. There is a change in her attitude as she agrees to follow whatever Petruchio says. Could this be one of her methods to get what she wants or does this show the audience the taming has shown some effect on her? I think she knows what she must achieve for her to be treated in a human way and the only reason she is bothering to play along with Petruchio is because it is the only way for them to get along and their marriage to work. I also believe she has realised that as a woman in Shakespeare’s time she needs to sort out her attitude and begin to act like a well behaved woman.
This goes back in the previous scenes where the men criticize her and make fun of her ever getting married, ‘to cart her rather! She’s too rough’, ‘no mates for you unless you were of gentler’. It is unfair if we think about it today because no woman should have to stand up with the kind of torture Petruchio gave but in those days it was good discipline for the husband to tame a wife like that. An audience watching today could find his actions against the woman offending. On the other hand this is only because nowadays women have rights unlike Shakespeare’s times.
Whilst talking to Petruchio she should show a face full of warmth and affection. To make it sound more believable and reassuring she should use hand gesture by pointing to an imaginary moon and the sun, without caring what others may think about her foolish response. What she says might make some of the audience think she is crazy but conversely they may be baffled because all of a sudden she sounds and acts so assured. ‘I say it is the moon’ declares Petruchio.
‘I know it is the moon’ approves Katherina. The word ‘know’ should be stressed to prove she is finally showing she is wrong and he is right. Petruchio changes the plot, ‘nay then you lie, it is the blessed sun’, making her look like the blind one. The audience may find her easygoing broad-mindedness useless because both ways they haven’t come to a settlement yet. It looks to me like Petruchio enjoys watching Katherina being humiliated because he has embarrassed her several times in the play. Foe instance on their wedding day Petruchio arrived now only late to the wedding but dressed in ridiculous and inappropriately for the wedding.
In Shakespeare’s time women had the lower status and the man was always better, so Katherina could just be playing along to get a role in society and show people she can change from the shrew she used to be to an obedient wife. I think getting married has made a big difference to the way she is now and a man like Petruchio was the best match for her since he is stubborn and impolite like Katherina he also likes to show he’s which reflects to her behaviour, so their personalities do have similarities. We see this in the scenes where Petruchio challenges her intellectually. I think he was also the one who stole her heart when they first met because he was the only man who had wooed her, which you could tell she enjoyed, ‘I see thy beauty’, ‘ill you, nill you’
Next Vicentio enters and when Petruchio sees him there is a humiliating reaction towards Vicentio when Petruchio acts as if he is a woman. Katherina decides it would be best if she plays along with him to show she is still on his side like a wife was expected to be in those days, so she describes him beautifully, ‘young budding virgin’, ‘fresh and sweet’ ‘so fair a child’ and so on. She does her best to exaggerate how Vicentio looks by saying the opposite to everything he is. The way she portrays Vicentio is bizarre and awkward because he is an elderly man who does not show much beauty at all, this makes the play seem very amusing. She must try to make herself sound as real as possible but the audience would be much aware that she is only doing it for Petruchios sake and play-acting.
Petruchio humiliates Katherina again by correcting her pretence, ‘This is a man’ and ‘not maiden. As thou say’st he is’. Katherina does not give up, she turns to look at Vicentio and apologises to him like she had no clue, ‘pardon, old father, my mistaken eyes’ she says this in a sorrowful voice to prove her attitude has not changed and she respects the old man as he is. She should walk up to him with a misguided look on her face and tap her hand on her forehead to let them know she was in the wrong. ‘That have been bedazzled with the sun’ whilst saying this she turns to look at Petruchio to check whether he has changed his mind again but since Petruchio does not say otherwise, she continues. ‘Pardon I pray thee, for my mad mistaking’. She maintains her apologetic side to make up for her misunderstand.
I think this scene is like a resolution for both of them because they learn how to co-operate with each other and Katherina accepts that they need to work together in a civil way to get what she wants and avoid the harsh taming again. Overall I can say Petruchios’ clever scheme to tame Katherina paid off in the end because she managed to fight off her old spiteful, discourteous self and turn to a more pleasant and gentle wife, so in the end the both gained something out of it.