illustration of Kate and Petruchio standing and staring at one another

The Taming of the Shrew

by William Shakespeare
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"Kill A Wife With Kindness"

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 167

Context: Petruchio, a gentleman of Verona, has married the shrewish Katharine and brought her home. Determined to tame her, he acts abusively, cuffs his servants, and complains about everything. Katharine protests that things are not as bad as he makes them out to be. But he continues his abuse. In a soliloquy, he explains how his wife must "come, and know her keeper's call." He then discusses his plans for the taming of Katharine:


PETRUCHIO
. . .
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,
This way the coverlet, another way the sheets.
Ay, and amid this hurly I intend
That all is done in reverent care of her;
And in conclusion, she shall watch all night,
And if she chance to nod, I'll rail and brawl,
And with the clamour keep her still awake.
This is a way to kill a wife with kindness.
. . .

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