Part of Petruchio’s “training” is to kill Katherina with kindness, as he puts it. But what does he do? After they are married, he rushes her away back to his home, leaving the wedding party. It is reported that the trip back was horrible with Katherina falling in the mud, and we assume she is dirty, cold, wet, and emotional (wouldn’t you be?). Petruchio continues to compliment Katherina, but in doing so, he withholds food from her, keeps her up with lectures and deprives her of sleep, and keeps her from being dressed. These are things we don’t do to prisoners today in our jails and prisons, and things that are expressly forbidden when enemy combatants are detained according to the Geneva Convention.
But Katherina figures out the gaslighting. In Act IV Scene v, Katherina seems to get the “training” down. On the way back to Padua, for Biana and Lucentio’s wedding, Petruchio and Katherina run into Lucentio’s father. Petruchio calls Lucentio’s father a young woman, and the sun the moon, testing what Katherina will say and do. She finally says, “Forward, I pray, since we have come so far,/And be it moon, or sun, or what you please./And if you please to call it a rush candle,/Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me” (IV, v, 14-17). This seems to be the point in which Katherina catches on to what Petruchio is expecting. The questions we can ask are many. Is Petruchio cruel? Is Shakespeare showing us that the nature of marriage is unification between husband and wife? Is Katherina simply catching on to the game, but keeping her personality in tact?
In this discussion, what is your interpretation? In a couple of paragraphs, analyze the scene and the “training”. What do you think the audience should recognize? What should scholars (we in this course) see and find important to note? Why do you think what you think? Make sure your response is only a couple of paragraphs, and if need be, uses textual examples to help your point.
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