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    Ill-tempered shrew Essay (1314 words)

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    Petruchio is told about the ‘rough maid’ (1) by Hortensio who only has one thing on his mind, to marry Katherina’s sister Bianca, who is seen as a ‘fair’ maiden, ‘beauteous’ (1) beyond compare, whose father is ‘rich’ (1) and prosperous, Hortensio can not wait for Petruchio to take Katherina’s hand in marriage and pushes forward the idea. Hortensio’s haste is due to the fact that he knows that Bianca has many other suitors, and he wants to be the first one there to talk with her father about marriage settlements. Petruchio plans to take the ‘rich’ (1) ‘wasps’ (1) hand in marriage, almost as soon as he hears about her ‘rich’ (1) father, however the customs that usually took place in marriage discussions between the father and the husband to be are excused when the men are talking about Katherina.

    For example when they are deciding the dowry instead of arguing for the most amount Katherina’s father can get for her, he takes the first offer that is given, he does this to secure a future for Katherina in case her husband dies, the discussion of the dowry is also very hasty as Petruchio wants the money, and is not even prepared to waste time introducing himself until he is asked his name. The dowry ‘is a gift of money or valuables given by the bride’s family to the groom’s at the time of their marriage. It is regarded as contribution of her family to the married household’s expenses’ (6) as the woman would not be bringing in any money of her own. Her father is just happy to marry her off to anyone who will take her; he did not ever think that anyone would want to marry her, due to her disrespect and her vulgar behaviour.

    The whole process of making a woman your wife is usually a long and detailed discussion between the father and the husband to-be, arguing trying to claim as much as they can for themselves, to get the best deal, whether it is the dowry, or money or goods for the daughter. However Petruchio swiftly goes into Katherina’s home and talks to her father Baptist, about wedding the ‘ill-tempered shrew’ (1) before he even introduces himself, ignoring the long introductions and polite formalities, he straight away asks ‘Pray have you not a daughter Called Katherina, fair and virtuous?’ (1). Grumio who is another one of Bianca’s suitors is in the room at the time along with Tranio who is actually pretending to be Lucentio, his master who is studying at university and can not be there him self to win Bianca’s hand in marriage.

    Grumio is old and even older fashioned in his views, he is struck by Petruchio’s lack of manners and is very concerned, he fusses about how he was ‘too blunt’ (1). Of course Tranio and Grumio are only there to take Bianca’s hand just as soon as Katherina’s is taken, but still Grumio is concerned about manners, an Elizabethan audience would have found this hilarious and made fun of old Grumio. But Baptista is not put off, Petruchio is rich and wants Katherina’s hand, and he has nothing to argue about and accepts quickly the hurried deal that had just been made, ‘business asketh haste’ (1). All Petruchio now needs to do is obtain ‘her love’ (1) Petruchio replies saying that it is an easy thing to do and the calls Baptista ‘father’ (1) which suggest that Petruchio is confident, that in his view he has already won Katherina.

    The next step to ‘tame the shrew’ (1) is to meet her, and just shortly after the marriage and dowry agreements have been made Katherine comes in to meet Petruchio. Petruchio knows that this simple woman is meant to be quite smart for a woman, but still tamable in his eye, however he still, makes a plan, to make sure that he dominates Katherina, and makes her his. He puts his first idea in the plan is to call her Kat instead of Katherina, which he knows will make her mad, as you usually only use shorten names with people that you are friends with, Katherina has no friends so has never been called “Kat”. When he uses his first idea she corrects him, of course saying she is Katherina but yet he carry’s on and then starts to compliment her calling her ‘plain Kate… bonny Kate… the prettiest Kate in Christendom… my super-dainty Kate.’ (2:1:19-181) (1)

    Which annoys her even more, as she is not used to being called pretty and normal, it agitates her as she does not know how to respond to this, nevertheless, Katherina, abrasive as always, tries to outwit Petruchio but it does not work, it turns out the Petruchio can handle Katherina and appears to be just as quick witted, putting poor ‘bonny Kate’ (1) in the centre of a long vocal duel between the pair, Katherina unable to destroy the man in front of her with verbal abuse she soon realizes that the man she is going to marry is quick and intelligent, unlike most of the other men that she has meet.

    Their verbal duel is filled with complex puns each one building a new metaphor from the last character’s insult, or sexual innuendo, Katherina’s puns are harsh and insulting, at one point she even insults his mother, saying ‘A witty mother! Witless else her son.’ (1) Where as Petruchio’s puns contain mainly sexual innuendo ‘with my tongue in your tail’ (1), he twists her puns to his own advantage driving her crazy. She hits him in a last out burst and he threatens her, we know that Petruchio is not afraid to use violence much like Kate as he in Act 1 scene 2 wrings his man-servant by the ear as he misunderstood Petruchio.

    He ignores the outburst as if it was nothing out of the ordinary and carries on in his artful little duel with Katherina saying that she will marry him, happily or not, ‘will you, nill you, I will marry you’ (1). He gets the last word in so he won the verbal duel, making it the first time that Katherina has ever lost to anyone, the audience would have loved this, as being an outspoken woman in the Elizabethan era was frowned upon by everyone, even women. The audience would have found it hilarious to see this woman try to be strong, but only to be pushed down showing her weakness’, and her place in society.

    In the Elizabethan era weddings would have been one of the main points in a woman’s life, partly because if you were a single woman on your own or if you were slightly odd or unskilled, people usually thought that you were a witch, so women tried to marry, to secure they future, and their sanity. Weddings at that time were very solemn events; everyone would stand as they did not usually have pews to sit on meaning that the church would have been simple. The friends and family of the relatives would all adjoin for a feast wishing the happy couple a long and happy life together, the food would be very extravagant and beautifully decorated, this usually took place after the ceremony.

    However in Petruchio’s and Katherina’s marriage with the build up so far, arguments and threats, you can be sure of a complex climax to the wedding. Petruchio and Katherina’s wedding was not quite so formal or friendly, instead it was rushed and rude, the formality and solemn traditions discarded, the religious meaning of the church pushed aside, nothing was how it should have been. ‘The Bridegroom should wear his best clothes which consisted of a doublet, breeches, hose, box pleated neck ruff and a cod piece. A cloak might also be worn and a pair of boots. Elizabethan men usually wore a short shift as an undergarment.’ (2). However Petruchio wears cheap dirty garments and a broken sword.

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    Ill-tempered shrew Essay (1314 words). (2017, Nov 10). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/ill-tempered-shrew-26938/

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