The Taming of the Shrew Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.
Signior Hortensio, 'twixt such friends as we
Few words suffice; and therefore, if thou know
One rich enough to be Petruchio's wife,
(As wealth is burden of my wooing dance), (1.2.66-69)
We've talked at length about Petruchio's quest for a wealthy wife. On the one hand, this is a typical pursuit for a single, upper-middle-class guy in the 16th-century. On the other hand, we might wonder about Petruchio's true financial state. Is he, as he says earlier, really well off? If he's not, does our perception of him change? Is his sense of social inferiority what drives his behavior?
O this woodcock, what an ass it is! (1.2.161)
Grumio (Petruchio's servant) remarks disdainfully that Gremio (an older suitor of Bianca) is inappropriate in his quest to wed Bianca. The play and the characters take a lot of pleasure in duping Gremio as punishment for his desire for a much, much younger woman.
What, you notorious villain, didst thou
never see thy master's father, Vincentio? (5.1.53-54)
Part of the fun of the play is the way servants get to play a part in deceiving authority figures. Here, Vincentio is irate that his servant Biondello pretends not to know him. In the end, though, all aspects of social order are restored and servants put in their "proper" places.