57 pages • 1 hour readWilliam Shakespeare
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Grumio arrives at Petruchio’s house ahead of the newlyweds to alert the other servants of their arrival. Petruchio, he warns them, is behaving like a madman; when Katherine’s horse slipped and she fell off into the mud, Petruchio blamed Grumio for it, beating him and yelling at him. Katherine had to try to pull him away.
When Katherine and Petruchio arrive, Petruchio still seems to be in this mood, yelling at everyone for everything. The instant dinner arrives, for instance, he sends it back, claiming it was burned—though the hungry and bewildered Kate protests that it was perfectly fine. Petruchio tells her that it’s important that neither of them eat burned meat, which was thought to produce bile, the humor that made people choleric (or angry). Both Katherine and Petruchio are plenty choleric already.
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With that, the newlyweds prepare for bed. But Petruchio lingers onstage to deliver a monologue about his plan: In the guise of thoughtfully taking care of all Katherine’s needs, he’ll actually starve her and deprive her of sleep. This is the method falconers use to tame recalcitrant falcons, and Petruchio thinks it’ll work just the same on Katherine.
By William Shakespeare