The Sexes


The Sexes Essay, Research Paper

In the play The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, Petrucio recognizes, respects and desires Katherine s strength of character. Petrucio is a clever man who sees beyond facades because he uses them in addition to a lot of irony himself. (II, i 46) (II, I 283 – 89) He is stimualted by Katherines

sharp tongue and harsh actions. He proves this in many ways throughout the play. Petrucio is not in desperate need of money, but comes to Padua to find a rich wife. He says To wive and thrive as best I may, when he is telling Hortensio why he came to Padua. He means that he has come to find a wife and get richer. From Petrucios response to his friend Hortensio (I,ii 64 – 75), it might be said that Petrucio came to Padua to make himself richer by marriage no matter how wretched the woman. I don t believe this is true. He also tells Hortensio that his father has died and that he is out in the world to gain experiences he cannot at home, and to find a wife secondary. (I,ii 49 – 57) Petrucio enjoys verbal sport and a non-conventional sense of humor. Petrucio surrounds himself with neither tame nor conforming people. You can even see this in his servants. His servants like him very much and enjoy his entertainments. An example of this is when Petrucio and his servant man Grumio get into a disagreement about knocking on the gate. Reflective of this is Petrucio s methods to woo Katherine. His methods are game like and outrageous. Such as when he beats up Grumio because Kate s horse stumbles, or showing up late to the wedding. While showing Katherine how ridiculous she is about things, he is also making her feel special, which is something she never felt in life. He also says that This is the way to kill a wife with kindness. (IV,i 211) This is his courting method of when he makes the wife feel to good for everything surrounding her. When they eat dinner once he complains Endanger choler planteth anger . since of ourselves are choleric . (IV, I 177) While Petrucio may not agree with what society has determined to be

proper, he is aware of the importance to conform. He knows the ways of society and that he must demonstrate this to Katherine, who has no regard for public presentation.

Petrucio is totally taken by Katherine s personality as Bianca s beauty and coyness takes the other suitors. It is in Hortensio s description of Katherine that Petrucio is captured. He describes her as wealthy, young, beautiful, properly brought up, intolerably curst, shrewd and forward. (I, ii 85 – 89) Though Hortensio finds his description of Katherine repulsive, Lucentio finds it intriguing and is he himself possess some of these qualities and is proud of it. The fact that these qualities are considered negative in Kate, but

not in Petrucio is a reflection of the societal standards of the 1500 s. Petrucio claims that she could be As foul as Florentious love (I, ii 69) It seems that he is turned on by the challenge. Although no one believed that Petrucio would be able to stand Katherine, he says that he must have her as a wife, and that he was born to tame her. Gremio asks Who will undertake to woo curst Katherine have you told them of her faults ? (I,ii 184 – 187) When Katherine is told of the wedding arrangements she says I ll see thee hang d on Sunday first. (II, I 301) This, or the slap he reaches later does not seem to discourage the strong willed Petrucio at all. It does not appear that Petrucio does not want to conquer or truly tame Kate. He is a man who is very confident in himself and does not need someone to boost his ego. He also seems like he would be disappointed if she were tamed to easily, because he seems to enjoy the

challenge. Petrucio seems to love challenges and constantly surrounds himself with challenging people. It seems his perfect match would be a woman who could produce a challenge and sharpen his wits. If he had wanted someone conformed, he would have gone more for someone like Bianca. Even though she claims it, Kate does no think Petrucio is really insane, which he is not. Peter, one of Petrucio s servantmen, says, He kills her n her own humour. (IV, I 183) Grumio says, by this reckoning he is more shrewd than she. When people question Petrucio and Katherine s relationship he says she still be curst in company, (II,I 307) but claims that in private she hangs on his neck and kisses him, which is far from true. His exotic shows show her what she is like, exaggerated. It takes her a while to realize this. When first being introduced to Petrucio she yells at her father You have shown d a tender fatherly regard, / To wish me wed to one half lunatic; / a mad – cup ruffian.

After spending time with her, Petrucio becomes completely taken with Katherine. It seems to all work out in the end when Petrucio and Katherine prove themselves to be a better match than all of the other couples. Because they are so much alike, Kate takes to Petrucio s games and words of irony. (IV, v 37 – 50)

I feel certain that Petrucio and Katherine will have a great time as a couple, and that Katherine is not necessarily tamed. I think they will both have their own victories in light of eachother and continue to shock society. It turns out the Petrucio wanted a women with similar qualities to his own, to challenge him, sharpen his wits, and keep his interest.


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