The Taming of the Shrew

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Animals Symbol Icon
By merely putting on expensive clothes, Christopher Sly becomes noble in his own mind, while the Page is able to assume a female identity through clothes. Clothing is thus particularly important for signaling gender and class identity. This is evident when Petruchio rejects the hat that has been made for Katherine: when she says, "gentlewomen wear such caps as these," (iv.3.74) Petruchio replies, "When you are gentle, you shall have one too," (iv.3.75). For Petruchio here, clothing is importantly linked to one's identity and character. Clothing in the play thus symbolizes how identity is constructed through appearances and performance, how being someone is often a matter of looking like or acting like that someone. When Katherine is upset by Petruchio's outlandish outfit at their wedding, he may tell everyone, "To me she's married, not unto my clothes," (iii.2-119) but throughout the play Shakespeare shows that it is often the clothes that make the man (or woman).
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Animals Symbol Timeline in The Taming of the Shrew

The timeline below shows where the symbol Animals appears in The Taming of the Shrew. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...asks if Petruchio is aware of Katherine's faults and wonders if he can "woo this wildcat," (i.2.198). Petruchio is confident that he can. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...politicly begun my reign," (iv.1.188). He says that he will train Katherine as falconers tame falcons: he will not let her eat or sleep until she obeys him. He will pretend... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...the news about Hortensio. He also tells them that Petruchio is a master at taming shrews. Biondello arrives and tells Tranio that he has found a merchant who may be able... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
...the banquet trade jokes and jibes, the widow teases Petruchio for being married to a shrew, offending Katherine. The women leave, and Tranio also teases Petruchio, saying he is ruled by... (full context)