We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thereby hangs a tale Introduction

I'm Grumio. I'm Petruchio's servant and I obey his every order literally. Which makes for some pretty hilarious scenes. And you know what I think?

First, know, my horse is tired; my master and
mistress fallen out.


Out of their saddles into the dirt; and thereby
hangs a tale. (4.1.47-51)

Who Said It and Where

In this scene, Grumio enters Petruchio's country house, where Curtis and some other servants are prepping for the arrival of their master and his new wife. Petruchio has just married Kate "the shrew" Baptista. Everyone knows she's more than a lot to handle and wants to stay as far away from her as possible. So Petruchio decides to mess with her and arrives late to their wedding in a wild, totally inappropriate outfit.

He causes a big scene during the ceremony and then drags Kate off to his house before they can go to the reception for a slice of cake. Kate's family and friends shrug it off a little too quickly and party on without her. Kate is made miserable the second they hit the road. When they arrive at Petruchio's house, she's starved, deprived of sleep, and psychologically manipulated by Petruchio. Her new husband has launched a campaign to "tame" Kate of her evil ways by acting like an even bigger shrew than Kate.

News travels fast. Curtis wants to know if the rumors are true about his mistress Kate being a shrew. He begs for gossip about the newly married couple, but Grumio picks a fight with Curtis and slaps him around a bit instead. Grumio says he's too mad at Curtis to describe what happened on the way home from Padua, but Grumio ends up narrating the entire thing by telling Curtis what he is not going to tell him. Makes sense, right?

He says something like this: "If I weren't mad at you, I'd tell you how Kate's horse stumbled and threw her off before it landed on top of her in the mud. I'd also tell you how Petruchio pounded me for what happened and how Kate tried to pull him off me but ended up getting even muddier. I'd also tell you how Petruchio swore like a sailor, Kate prayed, and I cried. But, I'm too mad so I'm not going to tell you anything." Grumio shows him.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...