The Taming of the Shrew
Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Help, masters, help! my master is mad.
Now, knock when I bid you, sirrah villain! (1.2.4)
This overall passage is typically seen as a brilliant moment of comic relief. We think there's also something interesting about the fact that Petruchio has such a hard time controlling and communicating with his servant the first time we see him. How is it that Petruchio is able to control Kate (her behavior and her speech) but not Grumio?
Thou art a lord, and nothing but a lord: (Induction.2.4)
The means by which the Lord and his crew convince Sly that he is a nobleman and not a beggar suggests that our identities, in part, are formed by the way other people treat us / behave toward us, and also by the names we are called. Sly is called a "Lord" and so he believes it. But that hardly makes Christopher Sly a nobleman, which suggests that some social identities are not as fluid or easily transgressed than others.
And for I know she taketh most delight
In music, instruments and poetry,
Schoolmasters will I keep within my house,
Fit to instruct her youth. (1.1.3)
In a time when educating women wasn't exactly a top priority in middle-class households, it's a bit unusual for Baptista to be so concerned with his daughters' educations. Does this make him a doting, loving father with his girls' best interests in mind? Or, is this a way for Baptista to make his daughters even more attractive ("Hey, look, my daughter/wife can read! Can yours?") while nickel-and-diming Bianca's suitors? (He hints here that Hortensio and Gremio should hustle up a couple of teachers if they want to keep him happy.) What are some other Shakespeare plays that address the formal educational of women?