The Taming of the Shrew

how does petruchio behave at the altar-and how does the audience find out?

act 3 scene 2

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The wedding party arrives and Petruchio claims that he must leave and cannot stay for his own wedding dinner. Katharina entreats that her husband wait for her. However, Petruchio sweeps Katharina away dramatically. . His behavior flouts convention and tradition at every opportunity: he is tardy, when he does appear he's dressed outlandishly, he curses in church and he refuses to stay for his own wedding dinner. This strategy of exagerrating his beastliness as much as possible is designed to tame Katharina. Indeed, that famous convention-flaunter and "scold" is unable to get a word in edgewise; she is reduced to defending the status quo against Petruchio's outrageousness. His bombast overwhelms her capacity for bombast. She does try to reassert her power, insisting that Petruchio remain for the wedding feast: "Father, be quiet. He shall stay my leisure" (3.2: 217). But her refusal to be subjugated only spurs Petruchio to even more outrageous behavior, as he orders Grumio to draw his sword and steals away with Katharina from the threat of "thieves." (3.2: 236) His closing line is full of pompous masculinity and false chivalry: "Fear not, sweet wench, they shall not touch thee, Kate!" (3.2: 238)