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To What Extent is Petruchio a Sympathetic Character?

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Introduction

To What Extent is Petruchio a Sympathetic Character? Petruchio first appears in Act I scene ii in a flurry. His servant, Grumio seems to enrage him. In Grumio's introduction, he plays on words to annoy Petruchio: "Pet. Villain, I say, knock me here soundly. Gru. Knock you here, sir? Why, sir, what am I, sir, that I should knock you here, sir?" Here, Petruchio seems unable to understand that Grumio is using knock about humour. Later in the play Petruchio cleverly uses words to try and woo Katherina. However in this episode it makes him appear short-tempered and with a need to control the people around him. In line 24, Petruchio talks in Italian to Hortensio. This makes him appear intelligent and makes the audience feel that they are in Italy. After Hortensio and Petruchio's Italian dialogue, Grumio says: "'Tis no matter, sir, what he 'leges in Latin." This would, to anyone who can tell the difference between Italian and Latin be amusing and make Grumio seem confused and ignorant. However, it is likely that fewer people in a modern audience would notice this and Grumio's mistake might go unnoticed. After this, Petruchio and Grumio quarrel about Grumio's disobedience. "I bade the rascal knock upon your gate." ...read more.

Middle

For example: "Kate of Kate Hall" sounds similar to "Toad of Toad Hall" from 'Wind in the Willows'. Katherina comes back quickly by making a pun of Petruchio's "Mov'd". "Mov'd, in good time! Let him that mov'd you hither Remove you hence. I knew you at the first You were a movable." By this, Katherina means that she thinks Petruchio shall be easily controlled. Petruchio seems offended and replies with indignation. "Why what's a movable?" However, he some recovers from this and they continue the dialogue. From line 200, Petruchio starts to introduce some sexual references to let Katherina know that he is serious about wooing her. "Women are made to bear, and so are you." When Katherina starts to walk away from Petruchio, he again uses a sexual reference. "What, with my tongue in your tail? Nay, come again." Petruchio phrases this so that it sounds like Katherina is being obscene. In the 2003 Royal Shakespeare Company production of 'The Taming of the Shrew', by this point, Katherina is starting to an affection for Petruchio. This works well and may be how Shakespeare intended it. Just before Baptista, Gremio and Tranio enter, Petruchio gives a speech to Katherina in which he tells her that he likes her and intends to marry her. ...read more.

Conclusion

Petruchio intentionally calls the sun the moon. After a small argument, Katherina realises that it is easier to agree with him. "Forward, I pray, since we have come so far, And be it moon, or sun, or what you please." From this point onwards, Katherina realises that her life is much better when she agrees with him. The last scene in which a banquet is laid out and all the characters of the play are present is the final test for Katherina. When Hortensio's widow insults Petruchio, Katherina comes to his defence: "'He that is giddy thinks world turns round'- I pray you tell me what you meant by that." Katherine turns out more obedient than Bianca and the Widow and she wins Petruchio money because of it. This suggests that a successful marriage is one of respect. The play finishes with a Katherina's 44-line speech in which she praises the man's role in happy marriage and describes the woman's. She condones the actions and lack of respect of Bianca and the Widow. This speech does not state that the woman should obey their husband, as the rest of the play implies. Depending on the age and context in which 'The taming of the Shrew' is performed, the marriage of Petruchio and Bianca is generally viewed as a successful marriage. ...read more.

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