The Taming of the Shrew
Art and Culture Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
My lord, you nod; you do not mind the play.
Yes, by Saint Anne, do I. A good matter, surely:
comes there any more of it?
My lord, 'tis but begun.
'Tis a very excellent piece of work, madam lady:
would 'twere done! (1.1.1)
The last time we see or hear from Christopher Sly, our attention is drawn away from the action on the main platform stage to focus on Sly. Sly's boredom and rude behavior seems to be a parody of bad behavior at the theater and a friendly warning for audience members who can't seem to pay attention.
Why, Petruchio is coming in a new hat and an old
jerkin, a pair of old breeches thrice turned, a pair
of boots that have been candle-cases, one buckled,
another laced, an old rusty sword ta'en out of the
town-armory, with a broken hilt, and chapeless;
with two broken points: his horse hipped with an
old mothy saddle and stirrups of no kindred. (2.2.1)
The play is full of narrations of off-stage events. What interests us here is Biondello's description of Petruchio's crazy get-up. Before Petruchio arrives for his wedding, we know that he's coming in costume and we're prepared for some kind of dramatic performance.
Tell thou the tale: but hadst thou not crossed me,
thou shouldst have heard how her horse fell and she
under her horse; thou shouldst have heard in how
miry a place, how she was bemoiled, how he left her
with the horse upon her, how he beat me because
her horse stumbled, how she waded through the dirt
to pluck him off me, how he swore, how she prayed,
that never prayed before, how I cried, how the
horses ran away, how her bridle was burst, how I
lost my crupper, with many things of worthy memory,
which now shall die in oblivion and thou return
unexperienced to thy grave. (4.1.14)
Here's yet another narration of an off-stage event, this time by Grumio. The curious thing about this moment is that Grumio gives Curtis an elaborate description of a scene after he tells him he's not going to say anything. Grumio's dramatic description of what must have been a terrible experience for Kate manages to turn the awful scene into a highly comedic moment.