"Sister, content you in my discontent."

     Bianca Act I scene i

"I come to wive it wealthily in Padua; if

wealthily, then happily in Padua."

     Petruchio Act I scene ii

"...nothing comes amiss, so money comes withal."

     Grumio, Act I scene ii

Petruchio: "Pray, have you not a daughter

Called Katherina, fair and virtuous?"

Baptista: "I have a daughter, sir, called


     Act II scene i

Petruchio: "Good morrow, Kate, for that's your

name, I hear."

Katherine: "Well have you heard, but something

hard of hearing. They call me Katherine that do

talk of me."

Petruchio: "You lie, in faith, for you are called

plain Kate, And bonny Kate, and sometimes

Kate the curst."

     Act II scene i

Katherine: "Asses are made to bear, and so are you."

Petruchio: "Women are made to bear, and so are you."

     Act II scene i


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"For I am he am born to tame you, Kate, And bring

you from a wild Kate to a Kate Conformable as

other household Kates."

     Petruchio Act II scene ii

"Who wooed in haste and means to wed at leisure."

     Katherine Act III scene ii

"Such a mad marriage never was before!"

     Grumio Act III scene ii

"Be mad and merry, or go hang yourselves.

But for my bonny Kate, she must with me."

     Petruchio Act III scene ii

"Where is the life that late I led?"

     Petruchio Act IV scene i

"This is a way to kill a wife with kindness."

     Petruchio Act IV scene i

Katherine: "This doth fit the time,

And gentlewomen wear such caps as these."

Petruchio: "When you are gentle, you shall

have one too, And not till then."

     Act IV scene iii

"Is not this well? Come, my sweet Kate.

Better once than never, for never is too late."

     Petruchio Act V scene i



Our secret occupation as we watch THE TAMING OF THE SHREW consists of noting the stages by which both Petruchio and Katherine-- both of them, in spite of everything the business is mutual-- surrender to the fact of their affection. Shakespeare has done this not by violating his form, not by forgetting at any point to write farce, and least of all by characterizing this couple. He has left them as man and woman, figures for whom we can substitute ourselves, and that is precisely what we do as we commence to understand why Katherine wants so badly to hear Bianca talk of her suitors, even beats her because she will not; as we read reservations into her scorn of Petruchio; as we wait to see her give Petruchio (V,i) his first quiet kiss; and as we assume behind Petruchio's roughness a growing attachment to this woman he is so deliciously-- we must confess it-- torturing. Shakespeare has done what he has done somewhat as a general takes a city: by sheer strength, in utter confidence, and with the soundest knowledge of our outstanding weaknesses.

Mark Van Doren, 1939

We must never for a moment allow ourselves to forget that THE TAMING OF THE SHREW is a play within a play, an interlude put on by a company of strolling players at the house of a great lord for the gulling of Christopher Sly, the drunken tinker, and thereby for the double entertainment of the audience. For the sake of throwing the picture into strong relief against the frame-- as in a different sense in the case of The Murder of Gonzago in HAMLET-- the play within the play is given a simplification and exaggeration that bring its main plot to the edge of farce, while its minor plot, the story of Bianca's wooers, goes quite over that edge. But, even allowing for this, the psychology of the Katherine-Petruchio plot is remarkably realistc. It is even "modern" in its psychoanalytical implications. It is based on the familiar situation of the favorite child. Baptista is a family tyrant and Bianca is his favorite daughter. She has to the casual eye all the outer marks of modesty and sweetness, but to a discerning eye all the inner marks of a spoiled pet, remade, if not originally made, in her father's image. 

Harold C. Goddard, 1951

It may be that Shakespeare, endlessly subtle, hints at an analogy between Christopher Sly and the happily married couple, each in a dream of its own from which we will not see Sly wake, and which Kate and Petruchio need never abandon. Harold Bloom, 1998

[Kate's] final performance is for [Petruchio], and it seems to represent not an abandonment of her earlier independence, but a revised understanding of what freedom means, in sexuality and in marriage.

Marjorie Garber, 2004       



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