In The Taming of the Shrew, Act II, scene i, why is it clever for Petruchio to tell Tranio and Gremio how Katharina behaves when they are alone?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, in Act Two, scene one, Petruchio describes how Katharina and he get along when they are alone: and he lies through his teeth. This is clever because it covers up the truth of their relationship.

Petruchio says that while Kate may curse him in public, when they are alone, Kate loves him. She hangs about his neck, with endless kissing and oath-making. So great was her love that in a "twink," he fell in love with her. He states that Tranio and Gremino are novices—"rookies" in the art of wooing a woman. He insists that in private, Kate is quite tame. He says that in private, even a coward can tame a shrew.

Tis bargain'd 'twixt us twain, being alone, (310)
That she shall still be curst in company.
I tell you, 'tis incredible to believe
How much she loves me: O, the kindest Kate!
She hung about my neck; and kiss on kiss
She vied so fast, protesting oath on oath, (315)
That in a twink she won me to her love.
O, you are novices! 'Tis a world to see,
How tame, when men and women are alone,
A meacock wretch can make the curstest shrew.

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