Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2019

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

Department Chair or Program Director

Richards, Gary

First Advisor

Finkelstein, Richard

Major or Concentration



Literary critic Theresa Kemp proposes a conservative interpretation of William Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew; Kemp believes that Shakespeare reinforces gender constructs and celebrates the historic oppression of women. Amy Smith analyzes The Taming of the Shrew through the theoretical framework of performativity, focusing on identity and theatricality in the play. In this essay, I will contrast Smith’s analysis of The Taming of the Shrew with Kemp’s. I will provide evidence in favor of Smith’s reading of The Taming of the Shew, and address elements of the play which are disruptive of the hierarchal vision. Katherine (Kate) Minola is the unruly female actor, scorned and prohibited during the English Renaissance. Kate rejects constructs of gender and courtship in favor of autonomy, expression, and desire. Kate adapts to an oppressive environment by performing a subversive, public identity as a vehicle for self-preservation and empowerment.