The Taming of the Shrew

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 1 Scene 2
No Fear Act 1 Scene 2 Page 5

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GRUMIO

(to HORTENSIO) I pray you, sir, let him go while the humor lasts. O' my word, an she knew him as well as I do, she would think scolding would do little good upon him. She may perhaps call him half a score knaves or so. Why, that’s nothing; an he begin once, he’ll rail in his rope tricks. I’ll tell you what sir: an she stand him but a little, he will throw a figure in her face and so disfigure her with it that she shall have no more eyes to see withal than a cat. You know him not, sir.

GRUMIO

(to HORTENSIO) Please, sir, let him go while he’s in this mood. Lord! If she knew him as well as I do, she’d realize how little effect a scolding has on him. At best she may come up with nine or ten abusive things to call him. That’s nothing. Once he starts on her, he’ll rant and rave on an epic scale. In fact, if she even tries to face him down, he’ll throw out a figure of speech that so disfigures her she’ll have no more eyes to see with than a cat. You don’t know him, sir.

HORTENSIO

Tarry, Petruchio, I must go with thee,
90For in Baptista’s keep my treasure is.
He hath the jewel of my life in hold,
His youngest daughter, beautiful Bianca,
And her withholds from me and other more,
Suitors to her and rivals in my love,
95Supposing it a thing impossible,
For those defects I have before rehearsed,
That ever Katherina will be wooed.
Therefore this order hath Baptista ta'en,
That none shall have access unto Bianca
100Till Katherine the curst have got a husband.

HORTENSIO

Wait, Petruchio, I should go with you. My own “wealth” is in Baptista’s keeping. His youngest daughter, the beautiful Bianca, is the jewel of my life, and he keeps her hidden away from me and other rivals for her hand. Because he finds it so incredible—owing to those character deficiencies I mentioned before—that any man will ever come courting Katherina, Baptista has therefore issued this edict: that none shall be permitted to court Bianca until that Katherine the shrew finds a husband.

GRUMIO

“Katherine the curst!”
A title for a maid of all titles the worst.

GRUMIO

“Katherine the shrew!” That’s the worst thing you can call a young woman.

HORTENSIO

Now shall my friend Petruchio do me grace,
And offer me disguised in sober robes
105To old Baptista as a schoolmaster
Well seen in music, to instruct Bianca,
That so I may, by this device at least,
Have leave and leisure to make love to her
And, unsuspected, court her by herself.

HORTENSIO

Now my friend Petruchio will help me out, presenting me to old Baptista as a schoolmaster for Bianca well-versed in music. I’ll disguise myself in somber robes. In this costume, I’ll be able to spend time with her alone, which will give me plenty of opportunity to court her.