What is the effect of Pertruchio's masculine language and actions on Kate and audience in Act 4.1 of The Taming of the Shrew?
Petruchio beats his servants four times in this scene. Grumio tells Curtis that Petruchio beat him on the journey because Kate's horse stumbled and Kate fell to the ground. Upon their first entry to Petruchio's house, and as they sit down to eat their first meal in their newly shared home, Petruchio beats his servants on three occasions because of the perceived deficiencies of spilt water and badly cooked food. Kate, the reported shrew, intervenes on the servants' behalf, and tries to cool her husband's temper. In addition, Petruchio uses very masculine, foul language on his servants in Kate's presence (particularly the adjective "whoreson", a term that would not normally be used in front of ladies, and especially not one's own new bride) to show her how he has a far worse temper than she does. After all of this trouble, he effectively starves Kate, for she has not eaten all day and Petruchio claims that the food is so overcooked as to be inedible. He plans to keep her awake all night with arranging and disarranging their bed, claiming it is all for her comfort. These words and actions have the effect of simultaneously torturing (through lack of food and sleep) and frightening Kate. While witnessing his cruelty to others and the difficulty that others have pleasing him, she can only deduce that it will be just as hard for her to please him, and that she will be the recipient of his wrath. These actions are meant to cow her into submission.