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The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew

ACT 2, SCENE 1

Read Act 2, Scene 1 of The Taming of the Shrew, when Petruchio and Kate first meet.

1. Translate the following excerpt into modern English. Read a few lines ahead and try to get a sense of what the character is saying. If you’re having difficulty with particular words, then look them up in a dictionary. Understanding Shakespeare is a great way to infer meaning, you might not understand every word but you can still get a sense of what the character is saying. If you still have difficulty, consult this page on No Fear Shakespeare.

I will attend her here,
And woo her with some spirit when she comes.
Say that she rail; why then I’ll tell her plain
She sings as sweetly as a nightingale:
Say that she frown, I’ll say she looks as clear
As morning roses newly wash’d with dew:
Say she be mute and will not speak a word;
Then I’ll commend her volubility,
And say she uttereth piercing eloquence:
If she do bid me pack, I’ll give her thanks,
As though she bid me stay by her a week:
If she deny to wed, I’ll crave the day
When I shall ask the banns and when be married.
But here she comes; and now, Petruchio, speak.

2. When Petruchio and Katharina first meet, they engage in a war of words and Shakespeare plays on the meaning of words. Identify five examples of this and explain why they’re humorous.

3. What does the line, “I swear I’ll cuff you, if you strike again” suggest about gender roles during this period of time?

4. “Asses are made to bear, and so are you.” Identify all of the names and insults that Katharina hurls at Petruchio.

5. Translate the following into modern English. Read a few lines ahead and try to get a sense of what the character is saying. If you’re having difficulty with particular words, then look them up in a dictionary. Understanding Shakespeare is a great way to infer meaning, you might not understand every word but you can still get a sense of what the character is saying. If you still have difficulty, consult this page on No Fear Shakespeare.

No, not a whit: I find you passing gentle.
‘Twas told me you were rough and coy and sullen,
And now I find report a very liar;
For thou are pleasant, gamesome, passing courteous,
But slow in speech, yet sweet as spring-time flowers:
Thou canst not frown, thou canst not look askance,
Nor bite the lip, as angry wenches will,
Nor hast thou pleasure to be cross in talk,
But thou with mildness entertain’st thy wooers,
With gentle conference, soft and affable.
Why does the world report that Kate doth limp?
O slanderous world! Kate like the hazel-twig
Is straight and slender and as brown in hue
As hazel nuts and sweeter than the kernels.
O, let me see thee walk: thou dost not halt.

6. What is a dowery?

 

ACT IV, SCENE 1

Read Act IV, Scene 1 when Petruchio and Katharina return to his country house.

1. Write down ten insults that Petruchio hurls at his servants.

2. When Katharina retires for the night, Petruchio returns and reveals how he plans to tame her. What strategies does he intend to use? Use quotes from his speech to support your answer.

Thus have I politicly begun my reign,
And ’tis my hope to end successfully.
My falcon now is sharp and passing empty;
And till she stoop she must not be full-gorged,
For then she never looks upon her lure.
Another way I have to man my haggard,
To make her come and know her keeper’s call,
That is, to watch her, as we watch these kites
That bate and beat and will not be obedient.
She eat no meat to-day, nor none shall eat;
Last night she slept not, nor to-night she shall not;
As with the meat, some undeserved fault
I’ll find about the making of the bed;
And here I’ll fling the pillow, there the bolster,
This way the coverlet, another way the sheets:
Ay, and amid this hurly I intend
That all is done in reverend care of her;
And in conclusion she shall watch all night:
And if she chance to nod I’ll rail and brawl
And with the clamour keep her still awake.
This is a way to kill a wife with kindness;
And thus I’ll curb her mad and headstrong humour.
He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
Now let him speak: ’tis charity to show.

ACT IV, SCENE VI

Read Act IV, Scene VI in which Petruchio and Katharina return to Padua.

1. How does Petruchio know that his psychological games have finally worn Katharina down?

ACT V, SCENE II

Read Act V, Scene II when Petruchio makes a wager with the other men that his wife is the most obedient.

1. What happens when Hortensio and Lucentio send for their wives?

2. Briefly summarise what Katharina says in her final monologue.

3. Identify five similes and/or metaphors that she uses.

10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU AND THE TAMING OF THE SHREW

1. Compare Kat’s sonnet at the end of 10 Things I Hate About You with Katharina’s monologue at the end of The Taming of the Shrew. How do they differ?

I hate the way you talk to me,
and the way you cut your hair.
I hate the way you drive my car,
I hate it when you stare.
I hate your big, dumb combat boots
and the way you read my mind.
I hate you so much it makes me sick
— It even makes me rhyme.
I hate the way you’re always right.
I hate it when you lie.
I hate it when you make me laugh
— Even worse when you make me cry.
I hate it when you’re not around.
And the fact that you didn’t call.
But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you
— Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all