Katherine and Bianca show the difference between the social role of women and the way women were treated during this period. Though there are more differences than similarities between Bianca and Katharina such as their reaction towards men and their daily rituals. The main difference between the societal norm of women, such as Bianca during the time that the play was written against the aggressive, bad-tempered women, such as Katharina, who were classed as shrews. Bianca and Katherine do have some similarities in this play such as their reasons for marrying. Katharina and Bianca in Taming of a Shrew are both are very sensitive and very high-strung at times. They both seem to hate each other but really they just see the truth behind their actions. Another aspect of Katharina and Bianca’s actions in the first three acts of the play is the attitude. Both of their characters change attitudes or see the truth about themselves near the end the third act.
Bianca and Katharina are completely opposite. Katharina is portrayed as the misbehaving and malicious woman whereas Bianca is seen as a sweet and respectful young woman. Men in Taming of a Shrew sees Katharina as a curse and Bianca as a goddess. For example, ‘Katharina is called “Katherine the cursed” whilst Bianca is called “Minerva”, the roman goddess of Wisdom.’ This shows how much the attitude towards men from a women is profound the actions that the men take with them. Their father, Baptista Minola, seems to appreciate his youngest daughter, Bianca, the most because of her compliancy to do what she is told to do. She seems to accept her social role and even enjoy having men fight over her. Bianca shows what society expected of women during Shakespearean times. Katharina does the opposite to what Bianca does – Katharina taunts the easily dominated men who are scared of her. Katharina shows what wasn’t expected or even wanted from women. For example, ‘I did but tell her she mistook her frets…struck me on the head ’ Katharina shows her point of view with violence or insults towards other people who tries to control her or teach her something.
The more she feels that the people are pushing her into doing something, she becomes agitated and becomes less susceptible to her social role that was taught to her. She’s trying to fit into the social role but she doesn’t and in turn she becomes angrier because of it. Bianca’s and Katharina’s similarities in the play contribute to much of their relationship such as their reasons for getting married for example, ‘Katharina says “No shame but mine. I must, forsooth, be forced to give my hand, opposed against my heart”’ This implies that Kate just wants to get married because she is shameful of her situation as compared to her sister’s. She is more likely to marry because she is shameful and because of the pressure that is on her by her father than her to just all of a sudden have a huge revelation and realize everything she has ever thought was wrong. Though Bianca has not married yet, at the end of the 3 act, Bianca has changed her ways and becomes more conceited and calls on men to give her affection. Both ladies want the attention of Baptista, Katharina just wants her father to treat her the same way he treats Bianca and Bianca wants to be viewed the way she has always been shown, first by her father, now her husband.
Another similarity is their contrasting nature as at the beginning of Act 1, Katharina is the shrew and she abuses men and mocks them and Bianca is the sweet innocent young woman who listens to her father, but then turns to show Katharina as the obedient one while Bianca starts to turn into the troublesome daughter. Bianca shows her darker side near the end of Act 3, the selfishness and the resentment that Katharina’s reputation has surrounded her with. In fact, Tranio and Lucentio show they are total and complete opposites – Kate acts like a crazy, loud-mouthed wench and Bianca behaves like an obedient and “silent” daughter. However, Bianca isn’t as sweet or silent as she first appears. She tricks her dad, and treats everyone like they are below her. The differences between the Bianca and Katharina is their initial look about the social role of women, Katharina hates being told what to do, on the other hand Bianca seems to enjoy being fought over and doesn’t mind her social contracts as long as she treated like her father used to. Both Katharina and Bianca want the attention of the men in their lives especially their father but he is never there for them.