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In Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, in Act IV, scene one, we witness as Petruchio dresses down all of his servants, finding fault with all they do. Even Kate believes that perhaps he is too harsh. He sends the mutton back to the kitchen, saying it is unfit to eat, and unhealthy for them, and so, without dinner, they move to the bridal chamber. As the servants comment on Petruchio's behavior, he returns and outlines his plan for taming Kate, as he would a falcon: the techniques are exactly the same.
First, he says that she will have no food at all—not today or tomorrow. Secondly, he says she will have no sleep. When it comes time to sleep, he will rip the covers and pillows, etc., from the bed, insisting they are not suitable, and since she did not sleep the night before, she will be exhausted. He promises that it will seem as if he is sheltering her with kindness ("killing her with kindness"), when he is really plotting to make her an obedient wife. These ploys work with falcons to break their spirit when they will not obey; he expects the same of Kate. He ends the speech asking if anyone has a better idea; if so, he should share it. Petruchio says:
Thus have I politicly begun my reign,
And 'tis my hope to end successfully.
My falcon now is sharp and passing empty;
And till she stoop she must not be full-gorged,(175)
For then she never looks upon her lure.
Another way I have to man my haggard,
To make her come and know her keeper's call,
That is, to watch her, as we watch these kites
That bate and beat and will not be obedient. (180)
She eat no meat to-day, nor none shall eat;
Last night she slept not, nor to-night she shall not;
As with the meat, some undeserved fault
I'll find about the making of the bed;
And here I'll fling the pillow, there the bolster, (185)
This way the coverlet, another way the sheets:
Ay, and amid this hurly I intend
That all is done in reverend care of her;
And in conclusion she shall watch all night:
And if she chance to nod I'll rail and brawl (190)
And with the clamour keep her still awake.
This is a way to kill a wife with kindness;
And thus I'll curb her mad and headstrong humour.
He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
Now let him speak: 'tis charity to show. (195)
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