In Act 5 scene 2 of The Taming of the Shrew, in the lines "Thy husband is thy lord,thy life, thy keeper..." what is the effect of the use of details?

Asked on by lauriewin

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This quote comes of course from the final scene of the play, when Katharina is the only wife who responds to her husband's call. She then uses her example of obedience as a chance to berate the other two women, including her sister, Bianca, on the duty that a wife should owe her husband. This speech from Katharina is particularly fascinating because it stands in such contrast to the presentation of her character in the rest of the play. It seems that Petruchio may well have succeeded in taming his "shrew."

However, the detail in the quote you ask about serves the purpose of emphasising the point that Katharina is trying to make. With each different detail, Katharina picks another way of expressing just how important a husband is to his wife, which therefore supports her claim that a wife owes her allegiance and obedience to her husband because of how important he is to his wife. In a sense, this is an example of repetition of a similar idea in a different way, and it is persuasive because it uses the "rule of three" that states saying one thing in three different ways makes your speech more persuasive.


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