Taming of the Shrew Act 2, Scene 1: In Baptista's House
Bianca and Kate enter Baptista's house, with Bianca's hands tied by Kate. Bianca pleads with her sister to let her free, for she has done no harm to her. Kate tells her to pick a suitor and be done with it. Bianca cannot do so, for she does not care for one man any more than the next. Kate wonders what's wrong with Hortensio, and Bianca tells Kate that she can have him. She wonders if Bianca wants more money and ponders Gremio. Bianca wonders why Kate envies her and goads her on until Kate strikes her. Baptista enters during this violent streak, cursing Kate and doting upon Bianca. Bianca exits in pain, while Baptista scolds Kate. Kate wonders why he feels the way he does about his two daughters. "She is your treasure, she must have a husband; / I must dance barefoot on her wedding day, / And, for your love to her, lead apes in hell. / Talk not to me; I will go sit and weep / Till I can find occasion of revenge" Act 2, Scene 1, lines 32-36. Kate exits in a fury.
The entourage of suitors, dressed in musical clothing, arrive at Baptista's home. Petruchio introduces himself as himself, the son of Antonio, and a suitor to his beautiful, fair, kind, mild daughter. Baptista is confused, for he tries to explain that Katherine is far from mild-mannered. Petruchio persists and wonders if Baptista still wants to marry off his daughter. He claims that he does and openly welcomes Petruchio into his home, for he knows his father's name well. As a kind gesture, Petruchio offers Hortensio, dressed as commoner Litio a schoolteacher, to Baptista. 'Litio' will live in the house and teach the girls music, mathematics, and sciences. Baptista graciously accepts. Gremio is the next man to interject and introduce his companion. He offers his friend, Lucentio (dressed as a schoolteacher named Cambio), to Baptista, as a teacher of languages, Greek and Latin, to live in the house with the girls. Again, Baptista graciously accepts. However, he notices that Tranio seems out of place, with a funny walk. Tranio (disguised as Lucentio) introduces himself as the wealthy son of Vincentio of Pisa, known throughout Italy. Because of his reputation, Baptista allows Tranio to stay as a third suitor to Bianca. Tranio offers a package of books (in Greek and Latin) and a lute as gifts to the family. After all introductions end, Baptista calls for a servant to lead the tutors to the students inside. He then asks Petruchio to walk with him in the orchard.
Petruchio inquires about the dowry, which Baptista informs him will be half of his estate in addition to twenty thousand crowns upon marriage. Petruchio is thrilled and ready to begin wooing Kate. "I am as peremptory as she proud-minded. / And where two raging fires meet together / They do consume the thing that makes them fury" Act 2, Scene 1, lines 131-133. Baptista warns him to be armed with words. As Petruchio is about to begin with Kate, Hortensio enters, holding his head. He retells what just happened during the lute lesson. Kate could not learn to play and broke the instrument over Hortensio's head. Upon hearing such action, Petruchio bursts, "Now, by the world, it is a lusty wench! / I love her ten times more than e'er I did. / Oh, how I long to have some chat with her!" Act 2, Scene 1, lines 160-162 Baptista instructs Hortensio to work with Bianca, as he beckons Kate to Petruchio, to his excitement. Everyone exits except Petruchio, who addresses the audience with his plan of action. He intends to woo her perfectly, by telling her how lovely she is, when she looks shrewish, how beautifully she plays, when she makes horrid noises, and more. He intends to make this woman want to marry him.
Kate enters and immediately begins to banter with Petruchio. He introduces himself as a suitor and calls to her beauty in an unconventional way, calling her bonny Kate, pretty Kate, and also Kate the Curst. Kate exclaims that her name is Katherine and that is what he should call her. He continues to call after her "Kate." He speaks of her reputation and how she does not fit it. They continue to speak, both with quick tongues, witty to catch the other. They call one another fools, wasps, turtles, and bugs. Kate strikes Petruchio and awaits his rebuttal, with the claim that a gentleman would never strike a lady. When Petruchio claims that he is too young for Kate, she quips that he is tattered and disheveled. He informs her that he has spoken with her father about marriage and the dowry and intends to become her husband. "Thou must be married to no man but me. / For I am he am born to tame you, Kate / And bring you from a wild Kate to a Kate / Conformable as other household Kates" Act 2, Scene 1, lines 268-271.
Baptista, Gremio, and Tranio enter as Petruchio and Kate continue to bicker. Petruchio vows to marry his beloved Katherine for himself, while Baptista looks upon his eldest daughter with awe and love. Kate is skeptical of the entire conversation:
"Call me daughter? Now, I promise you
You have showed a tender fatherly regard
To wish me wed to one half lunatic,
A madcap ruffian and a swearing Jack
That thinks with oaths to face the matter out." Act 2, Scene 1, lines 278-282
As Kate remarks shrewish against Petruchio Gremio and Tranio doubt that Petruchio has what it takes to tame the wild woman. However, Petruchio continues to express his desire for her. Kate is furious for having being forced into this marriage and claims that she would rather see Petruchio hanged on Sunday instead of standing at a church to be wed. Petruchio continues to announce their wedding to all, and upon the couple's exit, exclaims: "We will have rings and things and fine array, / And kiss me, Kate, "We will be married a Sunday" Act 2, Scene 1, lines 316-317.
Baptista, Gremio, and Tranio remain to discuss Bianca's hand in marriage, now that her sister is spoken for. Baptista claims that whoever offers the better dower will win the prize of his youngest daughter and wed her the Sunday following Kate's marriage. The elderly Gremio offers his grand estate and large sum of crowns. Tranio next speaks of even larger wealth in Pisa, with more money than Gremio has to offer. As a fool, Tranio makes a claim that since he is young, he will not die as soon as Gremio, so there is no stipulation about what Bianca would get if he died in his dower. The two men continue to bicker and vie for Bianca.