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Petruchio demonstrates cruelty through his actions, but sensibility through his intentions

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All actions are initiated with a specific intention in mind. For the most part, a positive, kind act stems from a good intention. However, what may appear to be hurtful, malicious acts may be motivated by good intentions. This last case is applicable to Petruchio in "The Taming of the Shrew." Petruchio demonstrates cruelty through his actions, but sensibility through his intentions. Petruchio develops a clever plan to change Kate first by stifling her personality, then by eliminating her dignity and finally by torturing her, rendering Kate docile. From the outset of Petruchio's appearance in "The Taming of the Shrew," he demonstrates cruelty through his actions towards Kate. During Petruchio's first encounter with Kate, he frustrates her with his "goodly speech" (2.1.255) and quick wit, rather than being a gentleman and showing politeness. He shows no effort to woo her or follow proper etiquette of the time but rather is intent on establishing his domineering attitude in the very first moments of his time with her. At first, it seems as if this is a harmless bickering between Petruchio and Kate, however tensions escalate and Petruchio threatens to "cuff [Kate] if [she] strikes again" (2.1.217). ...read more.


Once again it seems as if Petruchio is being cruel to Kate, purposely making her suffer throughout the day, however these examples demonstrate how Petruchio's goal of taming Kate is no where near done. Petruchio is robbing Kate of her dignity by not treating her as a person. He treats Kate with no dignity by ignoring her wishes. First off he ignores Kate's wishes by showing up late and not well dressed. Furthermore, he ignores Kate's wishes of a traditional wedding by disrupting and dishonoring the Christian marriage procession. He even goes as far as to strike a priest so hard "That down fell [the] priest" (3.2.158). In addition, Petruchio treats Kate with the least bit dignity by ordering her to leave after the wedding, claiming that "I will be master of what is mine own / [Kate] is my goods, my chattels; she is my house ... my anything" (3.2.222-225). In that last example Petruchio completely ignores Kate's wishes while treating her like an object. Petruchio's cruel actions of making Kate suffer result in the terrific loss of Kate's dignity. ...read more.


Kate does not hesitate to obey Petruchio's command this time, however while she is committing the act Petruchio declares "This is a man - old, wrinkled, faded, wither'd" (4.5.43). She immediately repents and apologizes. The Last test Petruchio puts Kate through is when he asks her to "kiss [Petruchio" in the middle of the street. Once again Kate puts up a fight but concedes rather easily by kissing him. These last three are definitely the result of Petruchio taking away Kate's basic necessities. However, the culmination of Petruchio's lesson is displayed when Kate lectures Bianca and the Widow, on the duties of a wife, stating that "[wives] are bound to serve, love, and obey" (5.2.164). Throughout "The Taming of the Shrew" it is obvious that Kate has undergone a transformation, from a heinous woman into a kind docile lady. Petruchio demonstrated great talent formulating a plan that would cause terrific results. Although his actions may have been cruel, his intention was to tame Kate so that they could have a wonderful relationship together. In this case, the end does justify the means. ?? ?? ?? ?? David Roy Roy 1 English 102 Mr. Williams March 30, 2005 ...read more.

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