The Taming of the Shrew Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.
Art thou his father?
MERCHANT, as Vincentio
Ay, sir, so his mother says,
if I may believe her. (5.1.34-36)
The Pedant's false and ironic statement that he knows he is Lucentio's father because Lucentio's mother is to be trusted (and not promiscuous) is interesting because mothers never actually appear on stage in the play. There are a few silly references to mothers (Kate makes a "your mama" joke at Petruchio's expense in Act 2, Scene 1) but it seems the only time moms get any props in this play is when someone is making a joke. What's up with that?
I see no reason but supposed Lucentio
Must get a father, called 'supposed Vincentio'—
And that's a wonder. Fathers commonly
Do get their children. But in this case of wooing,
A child shall get a sire, if I fail not of my cunning. (2.1.431-435)
Here, Tranio muses about finding someone to pretend to be Lucentio's father, Vincentio, in order to finalize Lucentio's wedding contracts. Tranio cleverly puns on "get" (to find a fake father) and to "beget" (to sire, or to father). This is significant because it points to the way typical parent/child roles are reversed. (Parents are supposed to be in charge but the actions of rebellious and deceitful children throw such relationships into chaos.) In this case, a child is going to beget (invent) a fake father figure, the Pedant, behind his real father's back. In the last line, Tranio also suggests that a child (Lucentio) is going to "get" Bianca's father. That is, he's going to gain a father-in-law and he's going to get the better of his new father-in-law by eloping with Bianca and fooling Baptista. All of which helps him get rich (a common 16th-century definition for "get") in the process. That's a lot of work for one little word.
Her silence flouts me, and I'll be revenged! (2.1.32)
Katherine and Bianca, like many sisters, have a tumultuous relationship. (Though, we don't know many women who have tied up their sisters and slapped them around, as Kate does in this scene.) We can't help but notice, however, that they never seem to make up or find any common ground and siblings or even women. Even at the play's very end, Katherine "scolds" her little sister (and the Widow). It's not just Kate, however, that can't play nice. None of the women get along, which is especially evident in a play where the men run around scheming together.