Act 4, Scene 1: Petruchio's Country House. Notes from Taming of the Shrew

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Taming of the Shrew Act 4, Scene 1: Petruchio's Country House.

Outside Petruchio's country house, Grumio tells the tale of Petruchio and Katherine's marriage to his servant friend, Curtis. They jest with one another, slap each other, and learn of the shrewish nature of the couple. It is winter, and they believe cold weather is enough of a whip to tame the wildest of beasts and even the shrewishness of both Kate and Petruchio. They have fought, frozen, and fallen off horses. The horse became sick, throwing the couple off and into the mud. Petruchio scolded it repeatedly, forgetting to help up his bride, who was stuck soiled in the mud. The tale continues until Curtis says, "By this reck'ning, he is more shrew than she" Act 4, Scene 1, line 81. Grumio asks Curtis for help for him and his new mistress.

The rest of Petruchio's servants enter, anxious to hear about their master and his new bride. Grumio and Curtis warn them of his temper. Petruchio and Kate enter, prepared for cleaning and dinner. Petruchio explodes at Grumio, wondering why he did not meet them at the park. Grumio explains that he did not meet them at the park because things were not ready at home. Petruchio bursts at him, screaming, and then repeats his malicious actions at each servant for doing nothing wrong, and strikes them individually. "You heedless joltheads and unmannered slaves! Act 4, Scene 1, line 160 Kate tries to pull him back, explaining that they did not err, they simply dropped things by accident. He pays her no attention and continues on his rampage, yelling about burnt meat and leaves. The servants feel for Kate, exclaiming that "He kills her in her own humor" Act 4, Scene 1, line 174. When they hear his footsteps, they escape without notice. Petruchio returns to give a soliloquy revealing the madness behind his recent cruelty. All of his actions have been pretend, so that he may force his wife to become a lady. She will not eat, nor sleep, nor receive kind words, until she is cured and tamed of her shrewdness:

"This is a way to kill a wife with kindness,
And thus I'll curb her mad and headstrong humor.
He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
Now let him speak - tis charity to show."
Act 4, Scene 1, lines 202-205

Topic Tracking: Deceit 6

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