Katherina is a sharp-tongued lady of Padua, known throughout the town for her rants.
The bane of her father’s life, she is keenly aware of being the less-favored daughter, and mistreats her younger sister, tying her up, beating her and interrogating her. Fiercely quick-witted, she meets her match in repartee in Petruchio, who comes to woo her and manages to sidestep and evade her best efforts at verbally besting him. Giving in to the idea of marrying him, she is distraught at the shame when he fails to show up for the wedding. When Petruchio insists that the two of them must leave for his home following the wedding without attending the feast, she attempts to soften him by entreating him, but this proves as fruitless as insisting that she will not go. When she falls off her horse into the mud on the way to her new house, she tries to stop Petruchio from beating his servant Grumio. Half-starved by her husband, she begs Grumio for food, but is denied. Denied new clothes on genuine excuses, she accepts to return to her father’s house in everyday clothes, and finally either beaten down or exasperated by Petruchio’s unreasonable demands, she accepts to consider the sun the moon and an old man a young woman. Conscious of her honor, she dislikes the idea of kissing in public, though Petruchio is able to convince her to do so. Called upon to explain how marriage ought to work, she has the opportunity to lecture her perfect sister Bianca on the wrongs of her disobedience.
The further adventures of her marriage are chronicled in John Fletcher’s The Woman’s Prize, or the Tamer Tamed.