Petruchio


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The Taming of the Shrew is one of the earliest comedies written by sixteenth and seventeenth century English bard, William Shakespeare.  Some scholars believe it may have been his first work written for the stage as well as his first comedy (Shakespearean 310).    The earliest record of it being performed on stage is in 1593 or 1594.  It is thought by many to be one of Shakespeares most immature plays (Cyclopedia 1106).
In The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio was the only suitor willing to court Kate, the more undesirable of Baptistas  two daughters.  Kate was never described as unattractive (Elizabeth Taylor played her role in one film of the production), but was known for her shrewish behavior around all of Padua.  Bianca, on the other hand was very sweet and charming and beautiful; for these reasons many suitors wooed her.  Kate was presented to be much more intelligent and witty than Bianca, but, ironically, she could not compete with Bianca because of these witty comebacks and caustic remarks she made (Dash 830).  All of the men who desired Bianca needed somebody to marry Kate, as it was customary for the older daughter to be married before the young one.  Finally, Petruchio came along to court Kate, saying he wanted to marry wealthily in Padua. It appeared, though, as if  Petruchio was the kind of man who needed an opposition in life.  The shrewish Kate, who was known to have a sharp tongue, very adequately filled his need for another powerful character in a relationship (Kahn 419).  When Petruchio began to woo Kate, everybody was rather surprised, but Signior Baptista agreed when Petruchio wanted marry her on Saturday of the week he met her.  Clearly, he was not opposed because he wanted to hurry and get Kate married so she would not be in Biancas way anymore.  Petruchio showed up to the wedding late and in strange attire, but nevertheless they were married that Saturday.  Petruchio began his famous process of taming his bride.
From the beginning, Petruchio wanted to dominate a relationship of two dominating personalities.  He sought to tame her in a nonviolent but still somewhat cruel fashion.  Petruchios method of "taming" Kate featured depriving her of the things she had taken for granted and been given all of her life, and he sarcastically acted as if it was in her best interest (Leggatt 410).  In the name of love, Petruchio refused to let her eat, under the pretense that she deserved better food than what was being given her (Nevo 262).  Similarly, Petruchio did not think that her bed was suitable for her to sleep in, so his servants took turns keeping her awake and denying her the sleep that she so desperately needed.  When the tailor brought in what seemed to be a very pretty cap, Petruchio refused to let Kate have it, despite her incessant pleas to keep the cap (Legatt 410).  Petruchio took the stance that Kate was his property, as he pointed out in the second scene of act three:
I will be master of what is mine own.
230She is my goods, my chattels, she is my house.
My household stuff, my field, my barn,
My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything.  
Petruchios words left no doubt as to his belief in the patriarchal marriage system that existed during Shakespeares time, perhaps presented in somewhat of an exaggerated form (Kahn 414).
As tiredness, hunger, and frustration set in on Kate, her wildcat personality began to weaken noticeably.  Because of the helplessness of her situation, she began to show submission to her husband.  When Kate mentioned the sun in a conversation, Petruchio absurdly disagreed with her and told her it was the moon.  Kate proceeded to agree with him, to which, of course, he changed his mind back.  Kates response was that it changes even as his mind, and this was the first sign of her submission to Petruchio (Evans 32).  
Petruchios actions were very extreme during the play, but as Kate caught on to their role playing their relationship improved (Nevo 262).  Many scholars feel that, despite Kates submissiveness in the  closing scene of the play, she would continue to be a strong opposition for Petruchio.  Her representation ... more

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Multiple Heroes In The Taming Of The Shrew

Multiple Heroes in The Taming of the Shrew
Throughout Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, it is easy to see that a great
responsibility is put on Petruchio for his efforts in having to tame the shrew, Katherine.
With this responsibility also came admiration when his goal was finally achieved. Because
of this admiration for taming a shrew, Petruchio is the character most looked upon as a
hero in this play. However, I believe that although Petruchio can be looked upon as a
hero, Katherine and Bianca also have good arguments as to how they are heroes also
because of the drastic ways they changed as people. In my eyes, The Taming of the
Shrew has more than one hero, in fact, there are multiple heroes.
The most obvious hero in this Shakespearean play is Petruchio. Petruchio, upon
setting foot in Padua, has announced that he has come Happily to wive and thrive as best
I may (Dolan 63). He is looking for a wife, and feels like he has much to offer.
Hortensio jokingly tells Petruchio about Katherine, the shrew, which immediately sparks
Petruchio's interest in the wealthy, fiery woman. After Petruchio and Katherine's first
meeting in Act II, Scene I, Petruchio says this: For I am he born to tame you, Kate, And
bring you from a wild Kate to a Kate Comformable as other household Kates....I must and
will have Katharine to my wife (Dolan 83). This is where the story begins.
When the story comes to an end, in the last few scenes, it is obvious that Katherine
has now been tamed. Petruchio has accomplished what he has set out to do by taming her
the way he would tame a pet falcon. He says in Act IV, Scene 1, in reference to treating
her like a falcon, This is the way to kill a wife with kindness; And thus I'll curb her mad
and headstrong humor. He that knows better how to tame a shrew, Now let him speak.
'Tis charity to show (Dolan 107). By starving Katherine, not letting her sleep, and
torturing her with new clothes that are not good enough for her, Petruchio has shown
that he is a hero. He did the impossible when he married and tamed Katherine.
Even though some people, women in particular, are likely to say that Petruchio
isn't a hero because that is not a decent way to treat a human being; a person can't argue
with the fact that by the end of the play, Katherine is a different person. She is no longer
rude, obnoxious, or disobedient. In fact, she is a well-respected, well-mannered woman,
who is capable of having a mutual, loving relationship. No one else in Katherine's life has
been able to change her headstrong, shrewish, ways, but Petruchio was able to do this,
making him a perfect hero for the play.
On the other hand, I believe that it can be argued that Katherine was also a hero in
her own way. After being treated second best her entire life, it is understandable why she
acts the way she does. She wants attention for herself, especially from her father who
adores her younger, more obedient sister, Bianca. Katherine has such an awful reputation
that when Hortensio learns that Petruchio is interested in marrying her he tries to warn
Petruchio off by saying: Her only fault, and that is faults enough, Is that she is intolerable
curst And shrewd, and froward, so beyond all measure That, were my state far worser that
it is, I would not wed her for a mine of gold (Dolan 65). Basically Katherine is known
for being a shrew that could never be tamed, nor would anyone ever want to try.
Katherine does not help herself or her reputation when Petruchio does start
courting her. In their first conversation, witty, insulting, humorous dialogue flows
between them freely, which shows Katherine's shrewish temperament. When Petruchio
tells Katherine to come sit on him, she replies with, Asses are made to bear, and so are
you (Dolan 79). Another response is, If I be waspish, best beware my sting (80). And,
when Petruchio tells her that they will be married on Sunday, she responds with, I'll see
thee hanged on Sunday first (84). Katherine puts on a great display of the reasons she is
considered such a shrew.
However, by the end of the play, Katherine is a completely changed ... more

petruchio

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  • T: Multiple Heroes In The Taming Of The Shrew T: Multiple Heroes In The Taming Of The Shrew Multiple Heroes In The Taming Of The Shrew Multiple Heroes in The Taming of the Shrew Throughout Shakespeare\'s The Taming of the Shrew, it is easy to see that a great responsibility is put on Petruchio for his efforts in having to tame the shrew, Katherine. With this responsibility also came admiration when his goal was finally achieved. Because of this admiration for taming a shrew, Petruchio is the character most looked upon as a hero in this play. However, I believe that although Petruchio c...
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  • The Shrews Illusion The Shrews Illusion Word Count: 1607 Amy Czech Professor Lobanov-Rostovsky English 30 March 3, 2000 The Shrews Illusion HORTENSIO: Now go thy ways, thou hast tamd a curst shrow. LUCENTIO: Tis a wonder, by your leave, she will be tamd so. Indeed, Hortentios assurance in the taming of the curst shrow Katerina seems a wonder to all the audience in the final scene of The Taming of the Shrew. After hurling furniture, pitching fits and assaulting her sister, Katerina delivers a speech that lauds obedience and ce...