illustration of Kate and Petruchio standing and staring at one another

The Taming of the Shrew

by William Shakespeare

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What type of irony is present in this excerpt from The Taming of the Shrew, and why is it ironic?

If she and and I be pleas'd what'a that to you?
'Tis bargained 'twixt us twaun, being alone.
That she shall still be curst in company.
I tell you' tis incrediable to believe
How much she loves me: O, the kindest Kate!-
She hung about my neck, and kiss on kiss
She vied so fasr, protesting oath on oath,
That in a twink, she won me to her love.

Expert Answers

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This line is delivered from Petruchio to Kate at Kate's house.  Petruchio is claiming that Kate has won his love because she loved him so much and that she declared her love through oaths and kisses.  This is both verbal and situational irony since Kate (also called "Kate the Cursed" in the play) is not a loving, affectionate being at first.  She is belligerent, hateful, and violent to her sister (because she is jealous of Bianca) and to Petruchio (because Kate does not trust him to truly love her).  Kate suspects Petruchio is only there to woo her for her father's money. 

Later in the play, it turns out that Kate is the only true wife.  She is loving and faithful to Petruchio and is the opposite of what she seems in the beginning of the play; this is also true of Bianca.  While Bianca seems to be the perfect example of beauty, obedience and sweetness, she is conniving and hen-peckish as a wife.

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