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Katherine is the protagonist of the drama and the shrew that is referenced in the play’s title. Since she is not attractive and resents her father’s lack of attention, she has developed a very unpleasant and scornful nature. Because of her negative personality, she is always insulted and humiliated. When she strikes back verbally, Katherine appears to be even more of a shrew.
Katherine’s antagonist is her shrewish nature, which she seems incapable of controlling. Since she does not change of her own accord, Petruchio, her new husband, decides to change or "tame" her unpleasant ways. Using psychology, he comes up with a plan to break her scornful nature.
The climax occurs in Act IV, Scene 5 when Katherine’s tamed personality is clearly revealed for the first time. On the way to Padua for a visit with Baptista, Katherine docilely agrees with everything her husband says. When Petruchio calls the sun the moon, Katherine agrees with him and calls it the moon. She has finally recognized and accepted her husband’s authority. She also realizes that his bad humor has been to teach her a valuable lesson, which she learns well.
The whole purpose of the play is to have a change in Katherine’s personality, and through Petruchio’s labor, this has occurred.
The play ends in comedy, for Katherine, with the help of Petruchio, is finally able to control her shrewish behavior. As a result, she becomes a gentle and pleasant young lady and an obedient wife, much to the amazement of all around her. Ironically, her much sought after sister Bianca becomes a shrew in Katherine’s place.
There is also a subplot in the play where Lucentio is the protagonist. His antagonist is to win the hand of Bianca in marriage. His plot ends in comedy with his marriage to Bianca and the blessing of the union by both Baptista, Bianca’s father, and Vincentio, Lucentio’s father.