Time has made a real punching bag of Katherine, the center of Shakespeare’s rollicking, prescient, and—is it possible?—second produced play. Perhaps ungenerously, many view her as a failed crypto-feminist archetype, a shrill projection of male fantasies of domination and submission. But what can we make of Kate in our post-feminist era, when many women around the world are CEOs and heads of state? She is a very modern person living in a throwback conservative world, and she, unfortunately for her, is the smartest one in the room. What do her passion and erudite mind matter here, where those with no opinions and “fair looks” always seem to win the best prizes? It is in her discovery of true love for another person that Kate finds the courage to jettison her rage and change her mind, performing that patented Shakespearean shape-shifting right before our eyes and deciding, heroically, to live fully and happily in the world in which Time has placed her.
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