The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

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How is Hortensio injured?

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mrryan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In William Shakespeare's comedy The Taming of the Shrew, Hortensio is Petruchio's best friend and sidekick. Like almost every other man in Padua, Hortensio adores the gorgeous Bianca and fantasizes about marrying her. He takes the bold step of adopting the persona of Licio of Mantua, a music tutor.

After his official presentation to Bianca's father Baptista (by Petruchio), the eager "music tutor" races off to begin teaching. His has his first (and last) lesson with Katherine, and it does not go well. Hortensio soon returns to the stage with, to quote the stage directions, "his head broke" and reveals that Katherine has smashed the lute over his head in a fit of anger.

Examine the humorous exchange between Katherines's father Baptista and Hortensio from act 2, scene 1:

BAPTISTA
What, will my daughter prove a good musician?

HORTENSIO
I think she'll sooner prove a soldier
Iron may hold with her, but never lutes.

BAPTISTA
Why, then thou canst not break her to the lute?

HORTENSIO
Why, no; for she hath broke the lute to me.

Hortensio storms that Katherine is an "impatient, devilish spirit," which makes Petruchio even more anxious to meet Baptista's fiery daughter. Ultimately, Hortensio's injury isn't serious. The lute-incident does, however, foreshadow his lack of control over his wife in the final act of the play, who refuses to come when called.

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nalani-rose eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Hortensio is injured in The Taming of the Shrew by Katherine. She takes her lute and breaks it over Hortensio's head. We do not see this interaction take place on stage, but we hear about it when Hortensio returns. Petruchio, another character in the play, has been waiting to meet Katherine. When he hears about Hortensio's injury, he is even more delighted to meet Katherine.

Hortensio is one of Bianca's possible love interests in the show along with Gremio. To win Bianca's love, he dresses up as a music teacher, but he reveals his identity to Bianca during a lesson. Hortensio does not end up with Bianca and instead ends up marrying a widow. Katherine ends up in a romantic relationship with Petruchio.

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gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Ah, a fun scene! He's trying to teach Kate to play the lute and she takes it away from him and clunks him on the head with the instrument. Go Kate!

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