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MonkeyNotes-The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
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Act I, Scene 2

Petruchio arrives in Padua from Verona with Grumio, his servant and the two head to the house of Hortensio, who is Petruchio’s friend. The master and servant start quarreling outside the house. Hortensio, on hearing the argument that is about to turn violent, steps in to stop it. The two friends, Petruchio and Hortensio, greet one another. Petruchio informs him that he has come to Padua looking for a bride. As a joke, Hortensio offers to introduce him to the shrewish Katherine. Then Hortensio tells Petruchio about the large dowry that Baptista has offered. Petruchio says he can overlook her unpleasantness for such a large sum of money and states that he is anxious to meet her.

Gremio agrees to recommend Lucentio, disguised as Cambio, to Baptista as a tutor for Bianca. In return, Lucentio promises to promote Gremio’s cause to his student. When Gremio is informed by Hortensio that a suitor for Katherine has been found, he is shocked and asks if Petruchio has been informed of her nature. The answer is affirmative. When Tranio, disguised as Lucentio, enters with Biondello, Gremio acts hostile, for he sees them as potential suitors to Bianca. The three suitors agree, however, that it is in their best interests to help Petruchio woo Katherine. They exit together.


Notes

In this scene, both the main plot, centering on Petruchio and Katherine, and the sub-plot, centering on Lucentio and Bianca, are developed. Petruchio is introduced for the first time and is shown to be a lively and pleasant young man. He has come to Padua to seek a wife, for his father has passed away and he is ready to settle down. On hearing of Katherine’s large dowry, he quickly determines to woo her in spite of her unpleasant personality. Since he is looking for a bride, he decides she might as well be a wealthy one. In addition, he has enough self- confidence to believe he can successfully change Katherine’s shrewish personality. When he says that he will marry Katherine even if she is "as foul as was Florentius’ love", he foreshadows the outcome of the play. Florentius, a fairy-tale knight, marries an old, unpleasant woman to learn a secret from her; after the marriage, she is changed into a lovely lady, much like Katherine will be pleasantly changed by her marriage to Petruchio.

The minor characters are also developed in this scene. Grumio, Petruchio’s servant, is introduced for the first time. Like his master, he has a lively and self-confident personality, as shown when he argues with Petruchio without fear. Although he can be stubborn, Grumio can also be witty. The scene also develops the personality of Gremio. He continues to be an old fool, who believes that Lucentio, in the guise of the tutor Cambio, will woo Bianca in his name. He is too dense to realize that Lucentio is really a suitor for Bianca and, therefore, his rival.

According to some critics, this scene may have been written by one of Shakespeare collaborators. Although the first part of the scene seems Shakespearean in nature, the latter part is written with rhyming lines and incorrect stress, which many believe Shakespeare would never use. The authorship, however, has not been conclusively determined

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