Act 4, Scene 3: In Petruchio's House. Notes from Taming of the Shrew

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Taming of the Shrew Act 4, Scene 3: In Petruchio's House.

Kate complains to Grumio that she is hungry, for Petruchio is starving her. She will eat anything that Grumio can bring her, even if it is meat from an ox or is even choleric. She cannot understand why Petruchio treats her so poorly, no matter what she does. She begs Grumio to bring her some meat, and they bicker over mustard, until she beats him. Petruchio and Hortensio enter the house with meat for Kate. He offers it to her lovingly, while embittered, she openly refuses it. Feeling sorry for her, Hortensio offers his company to Kate. Petruchio secretly admits to wanting to return to Baptista's house for fancy garments and wealth.

A tailor and a haberdasher enter with new clothes and a new hat for the couple's return to Baptista's house in Padua. Petruchio, again, erupts at the servants for bringing such filth and horrid attire. He bursts at the haberdasher and claims that the hat he brought looks like it was made from a bowl. Kate exclaims that it is fine and that she will wear it as it is.

"I am no child, no babe.
Your betters have endured me say my mind,
And if you cannot, best you stop your ears.
My tongue will tell the anger of my heart,
Or else my heart, concealing it, will break,
And rather than it shall I will be free
Even to the uttermost, as I please, in words."
Act 4, Scene 3, lines 73-80

Petruchio tells her that only a gentlewoman would wear such a hat, and she is not yet a gentlewoman. She will wear it or not go at all. After the haberdasher exits, Petruchio finds reason to yell at the tailor. Although the gown he has made for Kate is beautiful and fashionable, he dislikes it intensely. His subtle goal is to have neither cap nor gown for Kate. He and Grumio fight with the tailor over every little stitch and fault, claiming that he never ordered such a dress to be made. After Petruchio sends the tailor away, he has Hortensio find him to pay him for his work, for he does, in fact, like the dress. He is continuing to keep up his roguish behavior in front of Kate solely in order to tame her. After the tailor exits, Petruchio takes Kate lovingly and speaks of how lovely she will look in her current rags at her father's house. Since he intentionally sent away the hat and dress, she is forced to wear the muddy clothes she currently wears. However, as soon as he realizes that it is late, nearly 2 o'clock, he sends his regards. He will not visit Baptista's house with Kate. Hortensio comments to himself (and the audience) that Petruchio can command even the sun.

Topic Tracking: Deceit 8

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