The Taming of the Shrew Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.
LORD, to Servingman
Sirrah, go you to Bartholomew my page,
And see him dressed in all suits like a lady.
That done, conduct him to the drunkard's chamber,
And call him 'Madam,' do him obeisance. (Induction.1.110-113)
Bart plays a very brief but important role in Shrew. The fact that it's so easy for him to pass as a woman suggests the fluidity of gender ("femininity" and "masculinity"), especially on stage.
To her, Kate!
To her, widow! (5.2.35-36)
The behavior of Petruchio and Hortensio says a great deal about the way men use women as a means to interact and compete with other men in the play. The fact that Kate and the Widow fight in the last scene is also typical of the fact that there is no such thing as female companionship in the play, suggesting that women are incapable of friendship.
Why came I hither but to that intent?
Think you a little din can daunt mine ears?
Have I not in my time heard lions roar?
Have I not heard the sea, puffed up with winds,
Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat?
Have I not heard great ordnance in the field
And heaven's artillery thunder in the skies?
Have I not in a pitchèd battle heard
Loud 'larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets clang?
And do you tell me of a woman's tongue,
That gives not half so great a blow to hear
As will a chestnut in a farmer's fire?
Tush, tush, fear boys with bugs! (1.2.201-213)
Just one of many speeches Petruchio gives to assert his shrew-taming skills, this passage reflects the way Petruchio and the other men measure their masculinity by assessing their hierarchical relationships with women. The implication: if a man can't control his woman, he's effeminate rather than masculine.