Below is a creative writing exercise I wrote in my university’s Shakespeare class a few years ago.
Journal piece on Taming of the Shrew from Katharina’s perspective in first person. Hope you enjoy.
[Baptista’s house and street]
As I gaze out of the window onto the cobblestone streets below, there are a gaggle of knaves and gentlemen, all of whom are weak in heart and body. They fear me, which I take pleasure in because I do not wish to marry if all men in Padua are in this state or manner, nor do I enjoy being forced into marriage. I will not obey my father in marrying whomever he wishes to join with me into foolish matrimony. Besides, he favors my delicate sister, Bianca, who has no backbone, who bends her will to nearly every man, believing her obedience is proper and in good female fashion. Ay, but how does this act serve her in the end? Will she marry one of the weak fools stumbling eagerly about before our father’s house? For she bears her tender heart to those knaves, who will lord over her, I suspect.
No man is able to trick me with their trembling knees and wan faces into having me believe they are stronger than I and love me more than a hundred crowns.
Hark, who goes there? Father is conversing with a rogue who calls himself Petruchio, who is crooning flowery proses and elaborate orations about me. Oh, but he is relentless, keeping to me like a persistent hunting dog. How clever he thinks he is! And grossly tactless in his threatening to strike me if I were to slap him again! Alas, he says he will marry me next Sunday, and he leaves my presence and my father’s house, giving me reprieve for a time.
I sit in wonder. He hath the strength of an ox and the cunningness of a fox, flattering, lovely words that elevate my person, whilst at the same moment, spurts forth violent words with his acidic tongue. He must be mad! Yet, he is dedicated and determined with the deliverance and appearance of a rogue lord. I am overcome with confusion and a swelling heart. Father gives his blessing for us to be married.
The following Sunday, I’m robed in a beautiful wedding gown, but Petruchio not is he here. Hath he made a fool of me? After the efforts I’ve produced to be present for this farcical marriage, the brute has no tact, no feelings.
[Enter Petruchio in gaudy garments on a tattered horse]
He hath arrived in garments meant for a jester, but he is present. He and I marry before the priest, God, and the townspeople, and my new roguish husband wishes to leave our wedding banquet because of business. Pray, what business? He says not what business. My heart beats obstinately, and I will please myself and stay with family and friends to feast and dance. But he forbids my staying and carries me out, sets me on a donkey, and we travel to the long trek to his home in the cold, wet day and evening.
When we arrive, exhausted and famished, he gives me no meat, no food, no rest. My strength has abated, and I am desperate for sustenance, but none is given to me for a day and more. What knavery, what heartlessness! Why hath my husband done such horror? He does not love me as he incessantly declares.
He tears up my dress for my sister’s wedding before we are to leave to go to town. I am more sorrowful, hopeless than bitter. But a dress I do at last have. I realize I cannot get what I want without obeying him. I must agree with all he says for he, his servant, and I to go to the wedding. In doing so, he softens a bit, and I, too, have softened my heart…although my heart did become tender toward him in that first encounter in which he visited my father’s house and wooed me in strange, unique ways and declared he was going to marry me. I am pleased that my obedience has brought about gentleness from Petruchio.
It was fate that brought Petruchio and I together, inasmuch as he’s tamed my stubbornness and pride, I, too, have tamed his.