In Act I Scene 2 of The Taming of the Shrew, find an example of sarcasm spoken by Grumio that indicates that Gremio is too old to be wooing Bianca.

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question is a little tricky; because Grumio's comments are sarcastic, we have to know that Gremio is old in order to recognize Grumio's criticism and puns. Other things point to Gremio's age; Grumio brings this home with his sarcasm.

Grumio is Petruchio's witty and talkative servant. He manages a running commentary on Bianca's suitors. Several instances of Grumio's sarcasm play on the fact that Gremio is an elderly man. First, when Gremio and Lucentio enter, Grumio says the following:

So to beguile the old folks, how the young folks lay their heads together!

Since Gremio is not young, using the term "young folks" is clearly sarcastic.

Then, when Hortensio greets Gremio as his rival in love, Grumio says:

A proper strapling and an amorous!

"Proper," according to the Bevington edition of Shakespeare's plays, means "handsome," and "stripling" is a term for a young person who has not yet fully matured. As Gremio is too old to be considered handsome and not at all young, this is clearly another sarcastic utterance.

Finally, when Gremio declares that his deeds wil prove his love for Bianca, Grumio cynically describes Gremio with a pun that has a double meaning:

 And that his bags shall prove.

"Bags" means money, indicating that Gremio is a wealthy man, but it also means the bags or sagging that comes with old age: this double entendre is typical of Shakespeare, who could seldom resist a good pun. It is sarcastic because money or old age are hardly proofs of love.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let us remember that sarcasm is a special form of verbal irony said with the intention to wound or to hurt. Verbal irony is of course saying the opposite of what is true to emphasise the gap between appearance and reality that irony always concerns. When we examine this hilarious scene, we see that when Gremio enters and Hortensio tells Grumio that Gremio is the "rival of his love," Grumio, in an aside, makes a very sarcastic comment about Gremio's appearance and his suitability to be wooing Bianca:

A proper strapling and an amorous!

This is sarcastic because Grumio is calling Gremio a handsome young fellow, when clearly he is anything but handsome and young. Grumio is making fun of Gremio because of his age.

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The Taming of the Shrew

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