Petruchio first appears in Act I scene ii in a flurry. His servant, Grumio seems to enrage him. In Grumio’s introduction, he plays on words to annoy Petruchio: “Pet. Villain, I say, knock me here soundly. Gru. Knock you here, sir? Why, sir, what am I, sir, that I should knock you here, sir? ” Here, Petruchio seems unable to understand that Grumio is using knock about humour. Later in the play Petruchio cleverly uses words to try and woo Katherina.
However in this episode it makes him appear short-tempered and with a need to control the people around him.
In line 24, Petruchio talks in Italian to Hortensio. This makes him appear intelligent and makes the audience feel that they are in Italy. After Hortensio and Petruchio’s Italian dialogue, Grumio says: “‘Tis no matter, sir, what he ‘leges in Latin. ” This would, to anyone who can tell the difference between Italian and Latin be amusing and make Grumio seem confused and ignorant.
However, it is likely that fewer people in a modern audience would notice this and Grumio’s mistake might go unnoticed. After this, Petruchio and Grumio quarrel about Grumio’s disobedience.
“I bade the rascal knock upon your gate. ” This again gives the impression that Petruchio is short tempered and unwilling to back down. When Petruchio and Hortensio get talking about women, Petruchio shows that he is interested in marrying for money. “Thou know’st not gold’s effect. ” When Hortensio tells Petruchio of the rich but shrewd girl Katherina, he is instantly interested.
Hortensio seems to regrets telling Petruchio and lists all of Katherina’s bad points: “She is intolerable curst. ” However, Petruchio has his mind set and will not change it.
From his earlier actions, the audience can tell that Petruchio would probably be able to make Katherine yield, as he is a powerful and fiery character. Petruchio makes it clear that he doesn’t care how bad her temper is as long as she has lots of money. “I come to wive it wealthily in Padua. ” Petruchio implies that he thinks that he is perfectly capable of taming Katherina. “Have I not heard great ordnance in the field, … And do you tell me of a woman’s tongue. ” Although Petruchio has some strong lines early on, he delivers them with humour and affection.
This paves the way for the happy marriage that we see starting to materialise at the end of the play. In the 2003 Royal Shakespeare Company production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, Petruchio is shown as being drunk when he first makes his appearance in the play. He is also shown to hug Hortensio. This perhaps gives us an insight into his more sensitive side. Another way that Petruchio shows his internally sensitive nature is by using flowing and complementary words to describe Katherina: “Her affability and bashful modesty.
” This seems almost like Petruchio is trying to kid himself as to what Katherina is really like. This also has the effect of giving the audience a view of how he wants Katherina to turn out after he has ‘tamed’ her. Petruchio reiterates this in Act II, scene I, line 168 in his first soliloquy. Here, he tells the audience that he will contradict everything she says and does: “Say that she frown, I’ll say she looks as clear As morning roses newly wash’d with dew. ” He does this to attempt to confuse her and win her favour.