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The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew

 Table of Contents

The Taming of the Shrew Transformation Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.

Quote #4

I pray you, sir, let him go while the humour lasts.
O' my word, an she knew him as well as I do, she
would think scolding would do little good upon him: (1.2.8)

When Grumio notes that Katherine doesn't have a chance against Petruchio, he lets on that perhaps Petruchio's (future) transformation from an average guy to a domineering bully, who is more of a "shrew" than Kate, is more common than Petruchio lets on. It seems that P has played this game before.

Quote #5

I'll tell you what sir, an she
stand him but a little, he will throw a figure in
her face and so disfigure her with it that she
shall have no more eyes to see withal than a cat.
You know him not, sir. (1.2.8)

When Grumio assures Hortensio that Petruchio will beat Kate in a verbal battle of wits, he suggests that Petruchio's words, his "figures" of speech, have the power to physically alter Kate's appearance. (Like acid might burn and transform a person's face.) This anticipates Kate's transformation from railing shrew to an obedient wife. And though Petruchio never lays a hand on Kate, his taming tactics – starvation, forced sleep deprivation, etc. – do cause Kate to physically suffer, just as acid would.

Quote #6

Young budding virgin, fair and fresh and sweet,
Whither away, or where is thy abode?
Happy the parents of so fair a child;
Happier the man, whom favourable stars
Allot thee for his lovely bed-fellow! (4.5.6)

It's no surprise that the moment of Kate's so-called "transformation" (the moment Petruchio breaks her will and tames her) occurs when she and Petruchio transform an old man into a "budding virgin." Part of what makes Kate a new kind of person is her ability to pretend, just like an actor.

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