Animal Imagery in the Taming of the Shrew

Table of Content

Thirdly, character development is influenced by animal imagery, as shown through the characters Epithetic, Sly and Bianca. Thus, Shakespearean play The Taming of the Shrew definitively progresses the development of theme, relationships and character through the use of animal imagery. First of all, Shakespeare uses animal imagery to convincingly develop different themes throughout the play. One theme that evolves through the use of animal imagery is demutualization. An example of this is Pedicurist’s soliloquy when he confesses his plans to tame Katherine.

He mentions, “My falcon now is sharp and assign empty, / And till she stoop she must not be full-gorged, / For then she never looks upon her lure. / Another way I have to man my haggard, / To make her come and know her keeper’s call, / That is, to watch her, as we watch these kites / That bate and beat and will not be obedient” (V. I. 172-178). Animal imagery is used here by relating Kate to a falcon, specifically one that is wild and untamed. This quotation is significant to the theme of demutualization because Epithetic is referring to Kate as a falcon, less than human.

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His actions that he confesses to are to treat her as if she is not a human. When he asserts, “l have to man my haggard” (175), not only is he calling her a wild hawk, but he expressed it like she is his possession, as if he owns her. Therefore it increases the development in the theme of demutualization in this play. Another theme developed through the use of animal imagery is the theme of power. Right after the wedding of Epithetic and Kate, Epithetic is explaining to the others that he and Kate will not Join them for the wedding dinner.

He explains, “She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house, / My household-stuff, my field, my barn, / My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything” (Ill. It. 23-225). This quotation is significant to the theme of power because Epithetic is demonstrating that Kate is his possession and can be anything that he wants her to be. Specifically at line 225 when he says, “My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything”, it is relevant that animal imagery is successfully used to demonstrate this point of power that Epithetic holds over Kate.

The animals listed by Epithetic are all animals that humans use, which hold no power. Horses are used for transportation to take humans wherever they please, and exes and donkeys are used to transport heavy loads. This shows power because in all f these animals, they are tamed by their owners. The use of “my’ in Pedicurist’s comment suggests that he owns her and he can control her however he wants. Indeed, the themes in this play are developed by the use of animal imagery. Secondly, the play uses animal imagery to effectively develop relationships.

One relationship that evolves using animal imagery is that between Katherine ( Epithetic, as well as their tendency to be shrewish and inconsiderate to EAI arising from their urge to be in power. An example of this is when Kate and first meet, when they are having a discussion that is somewhat rude and ca sexual undertone. The dialogue that is exchanged begins with Katherine p KATHERINE: Well tan, and like a buzzard. EPITHETIC: O slow-wing turtle, shall a buzzard take thee? KATHERINE: Ay turtle, as he takes a buzzard. EPITHETIC: Come, come, you wasp! Faith you are too angry. KATHERINE: If waspish, best beware my sting. EPITHETIC: My remedy is then to pluck it out. KATHERINE: Ay, if the fool could find it where it lies. EPITHETIC: Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting? In his tail. EPITHETIC: In his tongue. Whose tongue? KATHERINE: Yours, if you talk of tales, and so farewell. (II. I. 206-214) This quotation is significant to the relationship between Kate and Epithetic it explains to the reader that at this point, there is not one person controlling relationship.

Both Kate and Epithetic go back and forth bantering about w control by using allusions about hawks and insects. By line 207, Katherine t explain that Epithetic is the “turtle” (in this case, she is referring to a turtle symbol of faithful love, whereas she is the “buzzard”, a hawk that cannot be After this, Epithetic calls her a “wasp” (208) and Justifies her behavior as angry’ (208). Following this statement, Katherine declares, “If I be waspish, aware my sting” (209); Epithetic then implies that he can pluck out the sit removing the shrew in Kate.

Epithetic and Katherine are therefore each SE be the one holding the power in that union. Another relationship that develop through the use of animal imagery is the alliance between Traction and Luck the definite class distinction amid the two. This is demonstrated when Luck Traction are at the after-wedding dinner of Elocution and Bianca; Traction disc opinion on how he is treated by Elocution by saying to Epithetic, “O sir, Luck slipped me like his greyhound, / Which runs himself and catches for his ma 2-53).

This passage from the play is significant to the development of this relationship because when Traction expresses that “Elocution slipped [him] like greyhound” (52), it shows that Traction is put beneath Elocution, being treated it also places him on a physically lower level being that dogs are of a lesser humans, giving the power to the pet owner. Furthermore, it shows Transit’s loyalty to Elocution, as he is unleashed to do his duty and comes right back asked to do. This puts them on different class levels because Traction obeys by doing everything he is told.

Indeed, the relationships are well developed he use of animal imagery in this play. Finally, Shakespearean play uses animal imagery to effectively develop chi and the traits that make them who they are, as well as to aid them in making their decisions. One way that animal imagery is used to develop characters is to outline their class, specifically through the example of Sly. The lord and his huntsmen come to the pub and see Sly passed out drunk, so he makes the comment, “O monstrous beast, how like a swine he lies! (Mind. I. 30). This quotation is significant to the character development of Sly because it shows that he is of lower class, especially imparted to the lord. The lord refers to him as a “swine” (30), putting him lower than human, as he is portrayed as an animal. Pigs are also filthy in the mud, making Sly the dirty type, proving to be lower class. Another way that animal imagery displays character development is through the role of Epithetic, showing his character’s contrast to others and the power that he holds.

An example of this is after Gathering’s and Pedicurist’s wedding, when Grimier says, “Tutu, she’s a lamb, a dove, a fool, to him” (Ill. It. 151). This quotation reveals Pedicurist’s character development by eloping to prove that he is not the same as the other men, since, for the first time, Katherine is considered a harmless innocent compared to Epithetic. The animal imagery helps develop the idea that she is innocent, pure, peaceful and harmless as she is referred to as a lamb, dove and fool.

This displays the message that Epithetic has a worse temper and attitude than Katherine, since the reader recognizes her as shrewish and the complete opposite of the traits of the animals used to describe her. It shows that Epithetic is in power, as he is able to make her harmless like the lamb, ND he is ill-tempered and boisterous, in contradiction to Skate’s comparison with a dove. The final point to display how animal imagery is used to enhance character is through Bianca and how she has transformed to become more shrewish than before.

At the dinner after her wedding with Elocution, she challenges, “Am I your bird? I mean to shift my bush, / And then pursue me as you draw your bow’ (V. It. 46-47). This quotation is significant to Banana’s character development because it shows that Bianca has changed since the beginning of the play and has become more shrewish. She begins by questioning Pedicurist’s authority, asking, “Am I your bird? ” (46), suggesting a target, and for her to be questioning that she is put lower than him by the use of demutualization of addressing herself as a bird shows rebellion of the typical Shakespearean female role.

It also demonstrates that she speaks her mind, instead of staying quiet and proper as she should. The way that Bianca questions Epithetic on making her his “target” by using the imagery of a bird suggests her attempt at dominance in this situation by seeking to not be put down by demutualization. Thus, the character development is efficiently conveyed through the SE of animal imagery. In conclusion, the use of theme, relationships and character is evident through the use of animal imagery in Shakespearean play The Taming of the Shrew.

This is proven through theme development, using the themes of demutualization and power. It also shows a character’s class through Sly, the degree of power a character possesses through Epithetic, and how characters can change throughout the play and become less obedient through Bianca. Finally, relationship development is evident through the attempt at power dominance with Epithetic and Kate, and the class fermentation with Elocution and Traction. The question is, does animal imagery help develop themes, relationships and character?

The answer is yes, because without these allusions, connections between the play and the actions, class and treatment of animals would not be meaningful throughout this work. The result would be less development toward the plot. Therefore, in the end, animal imagery is very important in developing theme, relationships and character. Still today, people refer to animal imagery to describe another’s character or relationship, or even the idea of power and demutualization.

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Animal Imagery in the Taming of the Shrew. (2018, Jan 17). Retrieved from

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