Petruchio In The Taming Of The Shrew

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In Shakespeare 's play The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio, an enigmatic character, takes on the challenge to marry the shrew, Katherine. It proves to be hard to decides whether he really adores Katherine or simply agrees to the request for the cash. Yet exploring Petruchio forces us to ask questions that can become difficult largely because, frankly, we want to like him. . Does he show as a man of honor or a mercenary seeking only to marry into money? Is he domineering and truly worthy of the title "tamer," or does the role he takes with Katherine constitute something less aggressive and ultimately more democratic? To be sure, in the end, it 's clear Petruchio is not nearly as mercenary as we might initially think. In fact, when all is said…show more content…
The play 's final scene provides the best example when, amid the banquet, Petruchio eagerly puts his reputation in Kate 's hands. For him, the initial twenty crown wager is an insult, causing him to exclaim "I 'll venture so much of my hawk or hound, / But twenty times so much upon my wife" (V.2, 73-74). Kate comes when she is called, as Petruchio was sure she would, but in giving Kate the task of telling "this headstrong women / What duty they do owe their lords and husbands" (V.2, 144-145), he releases complete control of his reputation. At this point, whatever she says will reflect not only on her, but on him as well. At this point Petruchio is also giving Kate an unparalleled opportunity: to address and instruct the party. Clearly, he trusts her — so much, in fact, that he is willing to share the public forum with her. Kate 's formidable speech leaves her own husband speechless, able to exclaim only "Why, there 's a wench!" (184). Although in many ways Petruchio is like his wife, admittedly he doesn 't undergo the same sort of maturation and development as she does. It would be unfair, though, to claim he remains static. When we look back to the Petruchio of the early acts, he is determined to live solely for himself, intending to exist largely on the dowry of the wife he hopes to find. If this were his sole motivation,…show more content…
When it comes to it, it seems Petruchio does not, in fact, want merely to wive it wealthily. He wants someone who can spar wits with him, challenge him, and excite him intellectually, emotionally, and physically. By the wedding scene, Petruchio has come to this realization; hence, he willingly assumes the all-important role as the catalyst for Kate 's change. For instance, purposely arriving late, wearing conspicuously inappropriate attire, and behaving in a completely improper manner at the wedding mark Petruchio 's initial steps in getting a wife worth more than merely her money. By play 's end his gamble to try and bring Kate to a higher level of understanding pays off. Petruchio gets the mate he desires — but he, too, is changed. He is no longer the mercenary man from the early acts; rather he is a man deserving of the extraordinary partner he has
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