The Taming of the Shrew

Petruchio's Method of Taming the Shrew

One reading of The Taming of the Shrew may cause women to shake their heads in disbelief of Kate’s changed behavior for the pleasure of her husband. A closer reading and an analyzing of the methods used by Petruchio in taming his wife, however, provide an opposing view. Perhaps Petruchio seems cruel in his treatment of Kate, but does he really have any other choice? In what other ways could he possibly have approached Kate and her temper? His method is unique and is obviously tailored with Kate’s demanding ways in mind. In fact, this uniquely crafted method chosen by Petruchio himself is not only perfect for “taming” Kate, but also proves his love for his wife.

Petruchio, from the first mention of Kate, has an obvious desire for a challenge. One of the first things he mentions is that he is determined to find a wealthy wife. Hortensio points out, perhaps recognizing Petruchio’s desire for challenge and playing on that desire for a better chance to win Bianca, that Kate is so shrewd that he would not recommend her to such a good friend (1.2.62-3). If he really did not wish to recommend her, he would not have even mentioned her as a possibility. Petruchio, however, demands, “if thou know / One rich enough to be Petruchio’s wife -...

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