The Taming of the Shrew Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How is Petruchio not confoming to the role of a bridegroom in Act III Scene II of "The Taming of the Shrew"? Please provide evidence.    

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Firstly Petruchio is late to his wedding, and therefore is showing a lack of eagerness to wed Katherine.  Kate and her father, Baptista, are worried that Petruchio may not show up at all, which would be a source of deepest shame for father and daughter.  Secondly, Petruchio is seen arriving in old clothes.  Since new clothes were, then and now, considered de rigeur for one's wedding, Petruchio is showing marked disrespect for both the ceremony and his intended bride.  In addition, Petruchio's mount is "hipp'd" (meaning lame in the hip), "with an old mothy saddle and stirrups of no kindred; besides, possess'd with the glanders and like to mose in the chine, troubled with the lampas, infected with the fashions, full of windgalls, sped with spavins..." (Riverside 125) -- in short, Petruchio arrives on the oldest, lamest, sickest horse he could find.  This was akin to arriving at one's wedding ceremony in a rattletrap rusted-out jalopy.  During the ceremony, Petruchio has the gall to actually strike the priest, and he kisses his new bride so loudly that everyone in the church hears it.  Finally, Petruchio cannot be bothered to go to his own wedding banquet; he orders Kate to leave Padua with him immediately, and even draws his sword on the wedding guests.  In short, Petruchio does everything he can to break wedding traditions and make himself unpleasant.

Source: Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. Boston: Houghton Miflin, 1974.

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