Who is Petruchio for you? For most of you, I know he is just but another difficult character in the play. But the way we interpret a character’s behaviors and activities, in this case, Petruchio’s actions, determine how we see this play overall. In my opinion, I actually don’t think that Petruchio is that bad at all. While at first, he may appear like an uncaring, greedy chauvinist, when you actually get to know him, you will realize that he is exactly what Katy is looking for in a husband. He is a strategic man who always stays one step ahead and knows exactly who he is and what it is that he wants. He is capable of loving Katy, and he thinks of calming her shrewdness to make a happy marriage (sparknotes). If you, like me, choose to look at the play in this perspective, then the play seizes to be a dark comedy about voracity and acquisitiveness, and instead, becomes a keen analysis of the mindset of relationships.
Petruchio is not only very determined to be Katy’s husband, but he also loves her very deeply. He understood Katy on some deep levels to a point where he understood and acknowledged that by helping her calm her shrewdness, would help them have a good marriage with domestic peace that would be better than the current life she was living. It is true that while in an attempt to try calm Katy, Petruchio goes to extreme ends, including tying and starving her (sparknotes). We can all agree that under all these, there were no bad intentions, and this could be interpreted as an act of tough love.
At some levels, I think that Petruchio is the male version of Katy, loud, persistent, and unruly, and in my opinion, this might just be what makes them the perfect match, a match straight from heaven. Judging from what he chose to wear to his wedding to the jokes he made at his wedding, it is clear that he cares very little about what others think of him or what he does. Their love story and chemistry is one that you will not easily find in these contemporary relationships. I mean, even though Kate tries to push Petruchio away, He stays. He is persistent because he knows exactly what he wants, and that is precisely what she sees in Kate. Her brilliant sense of humor and intelligence, as gathered in their humorous conversation, surpass the fiery temper that Kate first depicts. I mean, this is one beautiful story of love at first sight and the lengths one would go through to keep the one whom the heart chose. Ever since the first day they met, Petruchio vows that one day, just one day, they will be married, and they will have rings and things (Stone).
It would be unfair to talk about and analyze Petruchio without looking at Kate, his sweetheart. As the biblical saying goes, when a man and a woman are married, they become one unit. So let’s briefly talk about the other part of this unit. Katherine is the shrew that is depicted in the title of the play. Kate was popular in the whole of Padua as a shrew. She is evidently a rebel who puts no effort in trying to hide it. If psychologists were to handle her case, I am sure they would come up with lots of issues and conditions that she might be suffering from and even try to draw some reasons why she might be showing such behaviors. But we are not them, and so we are not even going to try and justify or even try to draw reasons for her response. We are going to look at the qualities that Shakespeare tells us about Kate, just as he tells them. Kate was knowledgeable and believed in living indecently. However, in such a world and society, the only hope she had of a beautiful life was by finding a good husband.
Kate might have been a shrewd, but after she gets married, we must all agree that she changes a huge deal. Yes, she still holds her stand on some issues, but she really does play the part of a good submissive wife. But then, if she really was such a shrewd as most people put it, how then did she choose to starve just because her husband told her not to eat. I mean, she could have been more rebellious. But then she didn’t. Instead, she was slowly shaping up to her husband’s, Petruchio, description of a good submissive wife. Even in an experiment carried out during Bianca’s wedding, Kate emerges as the most obedient. She ends up giving a speech to the other women to always honor and respect their husbands. (Wikipedia)
So, yes, Petruchio might have gone to a bit extreme ends in trying to tame her wife. It might look like at some point; he became the shrew. But all this was done for the love he had for his wife. It was a love at first sight kind of case. They complimented each other, and that is the only reason that could explain why the two made it together as husband and wife. Petruchio had his bad side, but we shouldn’t just concentrate on that side and forget about the loving, caring side. Most of the actions that Petruchio did were actions of love, just that sometimes, they were a little bit too much. But all that matters is that he meant well.
sparknotes. n.d. https://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/shrew/character/petruchio/. 5 May 2020.
Stone, Margaret. Study.com. n.d. https://study.com/academy/lesson/petruchio-in-the-taming-of-the-shrew.html. May 2020.
Wikipedia. March 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petruchio. May 2020.
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