Figurative Language In Petruchio's Speech

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ACT 1 Petruchio: “Sir, sir, the first’s for me; let her go by” Gremio: “Yea, leave that labour to the great Hercules, And let it be more than Alcides’ twelve.” (i.ii.262-264) Gremio’s allusion to Hercules was one of the greatest foreshadowing of the fate of Petruchio and Katherine in the whole play. Known to have many great labors in his life, Hercules was referred to as a master of the monsters; and perhaps only someone comparable to the notorious legend could be capable enough to tame the shrew. Famous for his great strength and endurance through seemingly impossible tasks, the world recognizes him as one of the greatest Greek mythological hero. Petruchio’s speech a few lines before further validated the allusion. Petruchio: “…show more content…
Petruchio proclaims many metaphors and hyperboles to validate his arrogance; however, when his entire speech of tasks is counted, it is revealed that he lists eleven supposed labors, one short of Hercule’s famed ‘Alcides Twelve’ that Gremio later mentioned. This interpretation unveils foreshadowing that Petruchio’s last labor could be the taming of Katherina, which would be the most arduous task of all, as Hercules last labor was known to be his most challenging and dangerous. The force driving him to complete these tasks was Hera, the goddess of women and marriage, possibly alluding to the chance that Petruchio was not just chasing after Katherina for the money, but actually for her in general. However, Hera drove Hercules to the point of insanity and killed his wife and his daughter, ruining his family name. The goddess was known to be jealous of Hercules, and extended to great lengths to make life difficult for him. Similarly, Petruchio begins to act deranged when he arrived to his wedding, only harming his reputation and family name, not his bride. In this allusion, Hera seems to be a representation of Katherine, while his murdered wife is a symbol for Petruchio’s ruined reputation after making a fool of himself to improve Katherine’s
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