illustration of Kate and Petruchio standing and staring at one another

The Taming of the Shrew

by William Shakespeare

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"He That Is Giddy Thinks The World Turns Round"

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 180

Context: Petruchio, a gentleman of Verona, has wed the shrewish Katharine and by abusing her beyond her endurance has conquered her shrewishness. Meanwhile, Lucentio has wooed and wed Bianca, Katharine's gentler sister, and Hortensio, a disappointed suitor of Bianca, has wooed a widow. Now all have gathered at a room of Lucentio when "all jarring notes agree/ And time it is, when raging war is done,/ To smile at 'scapes and perils overblown" to get together and "sit and sit, and eat and eat!" In the light mealtime bantering that ensues, Petruchio says "Hortensio fears his widow." The widow says something that causes Petruchio to say that she misses his meaning. The widow then replies with the proverb about the giddy person thinking the world is unstable. Katharine asks the widow for an explanation of the statement and the widow explains.

He that is giddy thinks the world turns round–
I pray you tell me what you meant by that.
Your husband, being troubled with a shrew,
Measures my husband's sorrow by his woe–
And now you know my meaning.

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