illustration of Kate and Petruchio standing and staring at one another

The Taming of the Shrew

by William Shakespeare

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"Small Choice In Rotten Apples"

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Context: Gremio and Hortensio are suitors to Bianca, sister of Katharine and daughter of Baptista. Baptista tells these two would-be lovers that someone must marry Katharine, the older sister, before any one can be suitor to Bianca. Although they are rivals for Bianca's love, these two men vow that they will try to find a husband for the shrew Katharine even if they do despair of success. Hortensio hopes he will succeed because Katharine's father is rich. But Gremio asks Hortensio if he thinks "any man is so very a fool to be married to hell?" The following conversation ensues:

. . . I had as lief take her dowry with this condition–to be whipped at the high-cross every morning.
Faith, as you say, there's small choice in rotten apples. . . .

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