The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

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Please explain the following quote from act 2.1 of The Taming of the Shrew. "Did ever Dian so become a grove / As Kate this chamber with her princely gait? / O be thou Dian, and let her be Kate."

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Petruchio is here insulting Katharina under cover of a supposed compliment. His mocking tone is in line with his previous speech, in which he has rather sarcastically explained that others had told him unpleasant things about Katharina, which he now finds to be untrue. Of course, he is saying this—that Katharina is gentle, rather than "sullen"—at the same time as Katharina is demanding to be allowed to leave; she also calls Petruchio a "fool," so there is irony in that she is showing herself to be exactly as sullen as others have said.

Essentially, in this statement—deliberately cloaked in the sort of aureate language one would expect of courtly poetry—Petruchio asks whether any grove was ever made more beautiful and pleasant through the presence of the goddess Diana than is this "chamber" by the way Kate is moving through it. He describes Kate's manner of walking as "princely," which again seems initially complimentary but actually carries the implication that Katharina is...

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