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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 #7

Why, tell me, is not this my Cambio?
Cambio is changed into Lucentio.
Love wrought these miracles. Bianca's love
Made me exchange my state with Tranio,
While he did bear my countenance in the town, (5.1.125-129)

Change and disguise are central to the Bianca plot, as just about all of her suitors don disguises to win her love. Here, Bianca cleverly puns on the word cambio, meaning "change" in Italian. We're also interested in the way Lucentio blames his bad behavior (playing dress-up and lying to everyone) on "love." Sounds like a lame copout for sure, but he might be telling the truth. In his opening speech in Act 1, Lucentio seems hell-bent on studying and making his family proud of his "virtuousness." The moment he sees Bianca, however, he transforms into a man without scruples. Perhaps it's true that love really does change a man, but not necessarily for the better.

Quote #8

How likes Gremio these quick-witted folks?
Believe me, sir, they butt together well.
Head and butt! an hasty-witted body
Would say your head and butt were head and horn. (5.2.40-43)

Baptista and Lucentio are in for quite a surprise when they learn that Bianca is not as sweet and silent as she appeared to be. Here, Bianca plays off of Gremio's comment that the wedding guests are butting heads (bickering and insulting one another). Bianca jumps in and calls Gremio a horned animal (that's code for "cuckold" – a man who is cheated on by his wife). It turns out, though, that Bianca's husband is the chump because he's married to a shrew. In a way, Kate is vindicated. On the other hand, the overall assertion doesn't change – any woman who talks like a man is a "shrew."

Quote #9

Confess, confess, hath he not hit you here?
He has a little galled me, I confess.
And as the jest did glance away from me,
'Tis ten to one it maimed you two outright. (5.2.61-64)

Here again a character implies that painful words and insults have the ability to physically transform one's appearance. In this case, the thing that "maims" Hortensio and Lucentio is an accusation that their wives are disobedient and unruly. Petruchio implies that a wife's behavior has the ability to alter her husband's reputation or street cred. (It certainly leaves him open to insults from other guys and business associates.) Petruchio also alludes to the idea that Hortensio and Lucentio have married castrating women. Ouch.

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