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Shrew--1Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.1Laurie E. Maguire, “Cultural Control in The Taming of the Shrew,”Renaissance Drama 26 (1995): 83.2Larry S. Champion, The Evolution of Shakespeare’s Comedy: A Study inDramatic Perspective, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970), 38. 3David Bevington, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, updated 4thed.
(NewYork: Longman 1997), 110.Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s InductionThe minor characters in The Taming of the Shrew receive little critical attention and to anextent rightly so. As Laurie E. Maguire points out, “To say that Shakespeare’s [play] is. . .abouttaming is to state the obvious: the ‘wooing’ of Katherine by Petruchio, perhaps more than anyother main plot in Shakespeare, dominates performance and criticism.”1The minor charactersserve primarily, according to Larry S. Champion, as "comic pointers" to the main plot's action oras dupes to the more clever.2To relegate Hortensio to either of these categories, however,ignores his centrality as motivator of the main plot, and although David Bevington findsHortensio “laughably inept”3--he functions, in fact, as the main plot’s lynchpin. Hortensio isthe first to draw our attention to the shrewish Katherine, and it is he who seizes the opportunity Shrew--2Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.4See Martha Andrensen-Thom, “Shrew-Taming and Other Rituals of Aggression:Baiting and Bonding on the Stage and in the Wild,” Women’s Studies 9, no. 2(1982): 121-143; Ann Barton, Introduction to The Taming of the Shrew, in TheRiverside Shakespeare, 2d ed., gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans (Boston: Houghton,1997),138-41; Emily Detmer, “Civilizing Subordination: Domestic Violence inThe Taming of the Shrew,” Shakespeare Quarterly“ 48, no. 3 (fall 1997): 273-294; Jean E. Howard, Introduction to The Taming of the Shrew, in The NortonShakespeare, gen. ed. Stephen Greenblatt (New York: Norton, 1997), 133-141;Natasha Korda, “Household Kates: Domesticating Commodities in The Taming of theShrew,” Shakespeare Quarterly 47, no. 2 (summer 1996): 110-131; and Murray J.Levith, Shakespeare’s Italian Settings and Plays (New York: St. Martin’s,1989), 46-53.5See Richard A. Burt, “Charisma, Coercion, and Comic Form in The Taming ofthe Shrew, Criticism 26, no.4 (fall 1984): 295-311; and Jeanne Addison Roberts,“Horses and Hermaphrodites: Metamorphoses in The Taming of the Shrew,”Shakespeare Quarterly 34, no.2 (summer 1983): 159-171.to suggest Katherine as a wife for Petruchio. More important to my purpose, however, isHortensio's function in the play's final two acts. While several critics–Martha Andrensen-Thom,Ann Barton, Emily Detmer, Jean E.
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Shrew--3Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,”
RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.6For a discussion of how themes work to form a “code-exposing subtext” tothe main plot, see Dorothea Kehler, “Echoes of the Induction in The Taming ofthe Shrew,” Renaissance Papers 1986 (1987): 31-42.7All references to The Taming of the Shrew are to The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans (Boston: Houghton, 1974).8Tita French Baumlin, “Petruchio the Sophist and Language as Creation in TheTaming of the Shrew,” SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 29, no.2(spring 1989): 251.scene provides a closure to the Shrew’s Induction by creating a parallel ending to The Taming ofa Shrew with a change of name and place not unlike, however, that which Sly has undergone. The Induction itself is a rich source of themes that recur throughout the play and culminate inthe final act. From gaming to taming, from animal imagery to commodity imagery, each findsits way into both the main and sub-plots.6One of the most crucial of these themes, however, liesin the role inversions that begin the Induction and how they manifest themselves once we enterthe players’ Padua. Sly is the Induction's shrew, albeit male, and constitutes a loud anddisruptive threat to public peace. The Lord deems him a "monstrous beast, how like a swine"(Ind. 34).7He is something that disgusts, but he is at the same time a human, someone who hasthe potential to transform under the right circumstances. He is, after all, merely "like a swine." As a man he should be noble in his mind and carriage, he should be able to control his excesses,and he should have the capacity to defer to the authority that comes to surround him. And theInduction shows him capable of doing just that--to an extent. We witness his shift from prose toblank verse, for example, which illustrates Tita French Baumlin’s view that the Induction is “anintroduction to. . .themes of identity and transformation through language.”8After firstmaintaining his identity then learning of his "wife" and assessing his immediate circumstances, Shrew--4Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.9The page disguised as Sly's wife serves as another unnatural element in the Induction and comments wryly onthe levels of cognition and cross-dressing at play in this comedy as well as its self-referentiality.10Margaret L.
King, Women of the Renaissance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 23-24.11Ibid., 23.he willingly declares himself "a lord indeed, / And not a tinker, nor Christopher Sly" (Ind. 72-3). He is up for the Lord's game and will put off bedding his wife as he is "loath to fall into [his]dreams again" (Ind. 26-7).9Sly is consciously aware of what is going on around him and iswilling to play it out as long as he is able.
His words, however, suggest that his dreams canvanish as quickly as they have appeared.When we move into the world of Padua, the Induction's Hic Mulier, Haec Vir situation is putright so to speak. Here we find the so-called "natural" predicament of the female shrew whothreatens the social order and who is, therefore, in need of behavioral modification. As the Lordis the first to comment on Sly's inappropriate behavior and to project that given othercircumstances Sly could be something other than what he is, so Hortensio informs us of whatKatherine is and what she must needs become--that is, something "of gentler, mildermould"(1.1.60)--to inherit a so-called appropriate and natural state for a woman.10Of course,that "natural state" of maid, wife, widow is male-defined, being determined by those whomMargaret L. King calls "the bearers of ideas--preachers and theologians, philosophers andphysicians, lawyers, humanists, and poets"11Hortensio serves as the catalyst for Katherine's first shrewish outburst although it is Gremiowho offers the first insult to which she could respond. Instead of directing herself to Gremio andhis rude comment that a man must needs "cart" her in a public shaming rather than "court" her,Shrew--5Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.12For a discussion of commidification of women in the play, see Korda,110-31.13Detmer compares the circumstances of Katherine’s situation with those of the “Stockholm syndrome,” 284.
Katherine addresses her first lines--"I pray you, sir, is it your will / To make a stale of meamongst these mates" (1.1.57-8)--to her father, posing an appropriate question to her father's peddling of her in the streets of Padua.12I suggest that we should read Gremio's linesimmediately following Baptista's edict as an aside directed to Hortensio. Such a reading makesHortensio the first character to confront Katherine openly and provides motivation for hersnarling reply. Hortensio preempts any response from Baptista and, as the Lord earlier hasobserved on Sly's drunken condition, calls immediate public attention to Katherine's defects. Both the Lord and Hortensio serve as the overt societal voice condemning aberrant behavior. Yet both voice the possibility for change.
At this point in the play, however, circumstances differ significantly for Sly and Katherine. Sly, surrounded by luxury, sees palpable virtue in transforming himself in order to accept hisnew role. By way of contrast, when Hortensio admonishes Katherine that there will be "Nomates for [her], / Unless [she] were of gentler, milder mould," (1.1.60-1) Katherine has nomotivation for altering her behavior, especially if her marital options are Hortensio and Gremio. By act four, however, she has motivation. Her only means for escaping what Detmer sees as acaptor-hostage situation at Petruchio's country house and attending Bianca and Lucentio'swedding is through change.13The direct catylast for that change, interestingly enough, isHortensio--not Petruchio. Another important theme initiates with Hortensio as well. He Shrew--6Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.14King, 26.15Ann Jennalie Cook offers a caveat, however. In Making a Match(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991)Cook offers the followingobservation regarding the bidding for Bianca between the disguised Tranio andGremio: “Incredibly, they ask for no dowry, and Baptista offers none. Thoughacknowledges the fact that marriage ofttimes brings financial rewards and that "there be goodfellows in the world. . .would take [Katherine] with all faults, and money enough" prior toPetruchio's arrival in Padua (1.1.128-30). Everyone, it seems, wants to or will "wive itwealthily" in Padua as Hortensio's subsequent marriage to the widow demonstrates. Nor shouldwe necessarily be hasty in our condemnation of the men's expectations concerning dowry. Theconcept of dowry was widespread throughout Western Europe in the Early Modern Period andescalated from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries. As King points out, dowry excess reachedsuch heights throughout Italy that the Venitian Senate legislated dowry expenditure to be set at5,000 ducats maximum and notes that one dowry exceeded that limit by 3,000 ducats.14Weshould perhaps recall here that immediately after identifying Juliet's mother for the maskedRomeo at the Capulet's ball the Nurse sees fit to add that "he that can lay hold of [Juliet] / Shallhave the chinks" (1.5.116-17). This importance of dowry allows Hortensio to set the main plot. When Petruchio announces that his purpose to Padua is, "Happily to wive and thrive as best [he]may," Hortensio lights upon what he believes to be the solution to his own dilemma andPetruchio's desire (1.1.56). And Lucentio, for all of his romantic love for Bianca, may stand toprofit financially as well. Given that Baptista has promised Petruchio that Katherine will receive"After [his] death, the one half [his] lands / And in possession twenty thousand crowns"(2.1.121-2), we might infer that the same at least will fall to the fair Bianca's spouse.15
Shrew--7Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.presumably Bianca, like Kate, would get half his lands at her father’s death,he never mentions such an inheritance”; and further, “What Shakespeare’saudience would also have seen is a bankrupting jointer for a bride with noformal promise of dowry,” 241. See also Korda, 110-31; and Carol F.Heffernan, “The Taming of the Shrew”: The Bourgeoisie in Love, Essays inLiterature 2, no.1 (spring 1985): 3-14. 16Levith, 46-7.17For additional discussion of class issues see Burt, 295-311; Heffernan,3-14; and Thomas Moisan, “‘Knock me here soundly’: Comic Misprision and ClassConsciousness in Shakespeare,” Shakespeare Quarterly 42, no. 3 (fall 1991): 276-290.18Hortensio’s comments here on Bianca’s "beauteous looks" being a facade to inner truthalso serve to confirm Tranio’s act one admonition to Lucentio that he “look’d so longly on themaid, / Perhaps [he] mark’d not the pith of all” (1.1.165-6).At this juncture in the play Hortensio moves into the sub-plot disguised as music master, a“credible” role given that “Shakespeare directs his audience to the important. . .theme of . ..education, the social lessons taught and learned in a purposefully selected university city,”according to Levith.16Hortensio’s undertaking a disguise also reminds us of Sly’s disguise andhis new role as lord. Disguise–a change of clothing–affords Sly the opportunity to rise to therole of married lord, Hortensio to lower himself in hopes of garnering riches of his own. In thisrole Hortensio draws our attention to Bianca, the Bianca of the play's end, and reminds us of theInduction's issue of social class.17He notes her changeability as she devotes her attention toCambio and reveals to the equally disguised Tranio his personal "scorn to live in this disguise /For such a one as leaves a gentleman, / And makes a god of such a cullion" (4.2.18-20). Hisfurther reference to Bianca as a "proud, disdainful haggard” (4.2.39) reemphasizes Petruchio'smetaphor for Katherine in his taming soliloquy and suggests the uncertainty that is Bianca andthe Katherine-like self she reveals in the play’s final scene.18We should, however, remain
Shrew--8Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,”
RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.19Wayne A. Rebhorn, “Petruchio’s ‘Rope Tricks’: The Taming of the Shrewand the Renaissance Discourse of Rhetoric,” Modern Philology 92, no.3(February 1995): 320; 321.20For a discussion of theatrical interpretations of Petruchio's method see Penny Guy, As She Likes It(London: Routledge, 1994), 86-119. For discussions on domestic violence see Detmer; Linda Boose, "ScoldingBrides and Bridling Scolds: Taming the Woman's Unruly Member," Shakespeare Quarterly 42, no.2 (summer1991): 179-213; Linda Woodbridge, Women and The English Renaissance: Literature and the Nature ofWomankind, 1580-1680 (Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1984). For more sympathetic treatment see John C. Bean,"Comic Structure and the Humanizing of Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, in The Woman's Part, eds. Carolyn RuthSwift Lenz, Gayle Greene, and Carol Thomas Neely, (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1980), 65-78; and Irene Dash,Wooing, Wedding, and Power: Women in Shakespeare's Plays (New York: Columbia UP, 1982).cautious about Petruchio’s influence on Hortensio. As Wayne A. Rebhorn notes, “All men in theplay identify maleness with power,” and that “Hortensio’s use of the falcon image serve[s his]own interests–in this case, Hortensio’s wounded vanity–putting [Bianca] down by raisinghimself up and justifying the position he constructs for himself as a superior male”.19ToHortensio’s way of thinking, he resumes that superiority by a change of clothes. OnceHortensio’s disguise has served his purpose, he resumes his original social rank and nature justas Sly returns to his lesser status as tinker in a Shrew.Tossing aside the light Bianca, Hortensio moves back into the main plot. Tranio announcesthat Hortensio has "gone unto the taming-school" where "Petruchio is the master, / That teachethtricks. . . / To tame a shrew and charm her chattering tongue" ( 4.2.54, 56-8). By the timeHortensio arrives, Katherine has already endured a goodly amount of what some deem sheertorture and brainwashing and others as teaching by example that leads to a companionatemarriage.20Still, he bears witness to Katherine's starvation and the incident with thehaberdasher and tailor and joins Katherine and Petruchio on the return to Padua. Hortensio here serves his most important function in regard to the Katherine-Petruchio Shrew--9Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.21Detmer, 281.relationship. If Petruchio has been teaching by example that Katherine must agree with him--that the cap and gown are unfashionable, for example--Katherine has yet to learn the correctlesson despite the fact that she has presented a somewhat modified behavior during her stay atPetruchio's country home. It takes Gremio fourteen lines to bate the starving Katherine intostriking him after all, and while Katherine asserts her opinion during the haberdasher/tailorinterlude, she quickly becomes silent rather than flying into a rage.
Petruchio, however,demands more. It falls to Hortensio to understand and explain what that more is.On the journey toward Padua Hortensio hears their disagreements. Because he is ofPetruchio’s party, and therefore comprehends Petruchio’s linguistic subtext, he understandsexactly what Katherine must do to win Petruchio's approval. Hortensio knows that Katherinemust conform to Petruchio's construction of language, something she has not been able tocomprehend or perhaps has been unwilling to do to this point. Only through Hortensio'sawareness of the linguistic conformity that Petruchio demands and his agency in communicatingthat awareness to Katherine does she come to full understanding of Petruchio's desire. Petruchiohas demonstrated the power of language throughout the play, yet it falls to Hortensio to revealthe language of power to Katherine.Here I take issue with Detmer's view that "Petruchio proves his manliness. . .by
workingalone."21Petruchio indeed makes no explicit request for aid in his treatment of Katherine, yet asJanet Adeleman notes, “Petruchio initially undertakes the wooing and subduing of Katherina aspart of a male pact; and the demonstration to the other men of the superiority of this technique Shrew--10Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.22Janet Adeleman, “Male Bonding in Shakespeare’s Comedies,” inShakespeare’s Rough Magic: Renaissance Essays in Honor of C.L. Barber, edsPeter Erickson and Copellia Kahn (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1985),75. See also Burt, 295-311; and Rebhorn, 83-104.
shapes the ending as decisively as concerns about romantic love.”22A tacit complicity or evenconspiracy exists among the men in the play. All agree that Katherine needs taming. While theyfind Petruchio's wedding behavior odd, to say the least, they accept and allow it. Once atPetruchio's country house we move beyond the tacit. Grumio tells the household staff ofPetruchio's "sermon of continency." He emulates Petruchio in baiting Katherine and thenwithholding food. The closest moment of directly asking for any form of aid comes whenPetruchio asks Hortensio to see the tailor paid which creates a complicity between the two. Justas Bartlemew the page will assure the smooth running of the practicing on Sly, so will hishousehold and Hortensio serve Petruchio. As a gentleman and friend, however, Hortensio'simportance goes beyond that of page. He becomes Petruchio's agent, his voice, if you will, onthe journey to Padua. The journey is, to be sure, an on-again, off-again affair. The first setting forth comes to a haltwhen Katherine disputes Petruchio's assessment of the time of day. To his observation that it isseven o'clock, Katherine counters with the reality that the time is two. Petruchio admonishesher: "Look what I speak, or do, or think to do / You are still crossing it. . . . / I will not go to-day, and ere I do, / It shall be what a' clock I say it is" (4.3.192-5). In The Riverside Shakespearethe "Look what" of those lines carries the gloss "whatever," suggesting that the actor playingPetruchio might give a shake of his head and a glance heavenward in an appeal to the powers Shrew--11Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.23Bevington, lxxxii.that be. The context, I believe, suggests the imperative instead, a command with the sense of"Look what" being "examine." That reading acquires additional force from the use of "will" and"shall" in the same passage. As Bevington notes, "Shall is. . .in Shakespeare. . .the usual futuretense. . ."; additionally, he points out that while "will" was "beginning to encroach on shall forthe expression of futurity in the second and third persons. . .its use usually. . .retains. . .itsoriginal meaning [of] intention, determination, or willingness" (his emphasis).23Petruchio’s"will not go today" expresses all three while the continuation--"and ere I do, / It shall be what a'clock I say it is"--emphasizes a future inevitability. His “will,” in other words, shall becomereality, but that reality comes through Hortensio's agency.On the next setting fourth Petruchio begins his power play anew. Katherine again refuses tocomply or does not comprehend Petruchio’s subtext.
If she has attempted to examine the priorday’s experience, she has seemingly gleaned nothing from the process. To Petruchio'spronouncement--"I say it is the moon that shines so bright"--Katherine replies, "I know it is thesun that shines so bright," and Petruchio calls a halt once more (my emphasis, 4.5.4-5). Thedifference here is between "saying" and "knowing," and for Petruchio at least, "saying makes itso." That notion is further reinforced by his statement that "It shall be moon, or star, or what Ilist / Or ere I journey to your father's house" (my emphasis, 4.5.7-8). The inevitable futuritythere expressed confirms his desire for absolute authority.At this point Hortensio offers the single-most important line in the play in relationship to Shrew--12Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.24Both Andrensen-Thom and Detmer mention Hortensio's role in Katherine's compliance by citing his “Sayas he says, or we shall never go” (4.5.11), but their foci remain centered on the relationship between Katherine andPetruchio rather than pursuing Hortensio's significance to what follows. 25Rebhorn, 302.Katherine's transformation: "Say as he says, or we shall never go" (4.5.11).24As Rebhorn quiterightly acknowledges, “[Petruchio] insists that she speak just as he does and, more important,that his words be allowed to determine the very reality of their world.”25Hortensio's repetitionof "say/says" underscores that Petruchio will be the sole arbiter of the social construction ofreality, and his use of "shall" reinforces the fact. For Katherine the moon dawns, as it were. Sheimmediately responds, "And if you please to call it a rush-candle / Henceforth I vow it shall beso for me" (my emphasis, 4.5.14-15). Petruchio's exempla and exhortations have failed tocommunicate. Hortensio, however, offers Katherine the key to Petruchio’s language. The verytutor who had told her in act one to change her ways and who in act two could "not break her tothe lute"(2.1.147), now tells her again to follow his instruction, and she complies.
Petruchiomay have been the instructor, but Hortensio conveys the lesson. For the first time, Katherinebecomes consciously aware that in order to receive she must give Petruchio his construction ofthe world. To comply fully she must do so in Petruchio's language. Despite her vow to agree to whatever Petruchio calls anything, he initiates another verbal test. The two repeat almost verbatim the earlier dialogue. Petruchio states, "I say it is the moon," andshe replies, "I know it is the moon" (my emphasis, 4.5.16), which prompts Petruchio to call her aliar because, as he says, "it is the blessed sun" (4.5.17). She must change her language toconform to his. She complies by saying: Shrew--13Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.Then God be blest, it [is] the blessed sun,But sun it is not, when you say. And the Moon changes even as your mind. What you will have it nam'd, even that it is,And so it shall be so for Katherine.(my emphasis, 4.5.18-22)This second vow repeats the "say/will/shall" nexus of the dialogue in this scene, and the scansionlends it weight. In line nineteen the final stress falls on "say," reinforcing the idea of Petruchio'slinguistic determinism. While the stress does not fall on "will" in line twenty-one, it fallssquarely and significantly on "shall" in line twenty-two, as it does in the earlier vow, signifyingKatherine's understanding of and capitulation to Petruchio's desires. Whatever he says then,whatever he wills or says something to be, she acknowledges as the, and her, inevitable future.The play does not end here, of course. More than Hortensio must bear witness to Katherine'schange, and the play must move to some form of closure. I wish to suggest that the play's endaffords us a dual closure through that open-ended quality that Roberts finds in the play and thatthrough Hortensio we move full circle back to the Induction. If we accept that the Katherine-Petruchio union remains unconsummated until after the play's end, we should recall that we leftChristopher Sly in another unconsummated situation; he will and cannot not bed his "wife" untilsome future time, certainly not until the end of the "comonty" playing out before him. While, asBurt notes, “the Shrew ends without the frame returning,” I disagree with his reading that in so Shrew--14Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.26Burt, 301.27Ibid., 302.28All references to The Taming of a Shrew are to the “Textual Notes,” The Taming of the Shrew, TheRiverside Shakespeare, G. Blakemore Evans, ed.., (Boston: Houghton, 1974), 142.doing the play fails to give us a “complete and balanced closure.”26A close look at Hortensio inrelationship to Christopher Sly at the play’s end, I believe, does offer us a closure to the frame. Burt’s comments on the ending are informative here: “Shakespeare does not stage the subversionof patriarchy but stages a subversive threat to patriarchy–the unruly and insubordinate woman–inorder to contain it.”27As with Sly, who has moved from tinker to lord to husband and learned toaccept his newer roles and responsibilities given his circumstances, Hortensio too has gonethrough a progression of roles from suitor to tutor to student and mentor to husband. And intheir respective roles as real-life husbands do Sly’s and Hortensio’s roles coalesce. In a Shrew Sly awakens from his dream and heads for home, and, as the Tapster remindshim, to a wife who “will course [him] for dreming here to night”28In the Shrew Hortensiometaphorically awakens from what his dream of life with the Widow would be--that is, wealthequals happiness--to the reality of her waspish and disobedient behavior, and he too must atsome point contemplate the unpleasant reality of heading home with his wife, one who willdoubtless find reasons for cursing him. At the same time, however, both men have witnessedPetruchio’s taming school where each has observed a type of performance and possibly learnedsome techniques for dealing with disobedient wives. Granted, the types of performance differ: Sly watches the “comonty” played out before him as literal audience while Hortensio functionsas an active character within that play. At the same time, Hortensio serves as a form of audience Shrew--15Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.29Ibid.30Burt, 299to the drama taking place between Katherine and Petruchio.Further, each play’s closure falls toSly and Hortensio. In a Shrew, vowing to tame his wife, Sly heads home with the Tapster aswitness, for he wishes to “heare the rest that [Sly] hast dremt to night.”29With Petruchio andKatherine’s departure from the Shrew’s final scene, the last lines fall to Hortensio and Lucentio. Hortensio's "Now go thy ways, thou hast tam'd a curst shrow" (5.2.88-9) serves two purposes: itunderscores Petruchio’s having won the wager, and it affirms what he and Sly both believe to betrue–that the possibility exists that a woman like Katherine can indeed be tamed. At the sametime it questions the reality of Katherine's transformation–as Burt notes, “because Kate’s displayof obedience is always occasional. . .a performance”--much as Sly had earlier questioned himselfas a lord; it further questions the lessons that Sly, Katherine (perhaps), and Hortensio havewitnessed and/or learned.30Lucentio's final line of the play reinforces that sense: "'Tis awonder, by your leave, she will be tam'd so" (my emphasis, 5.2.90-1). Has Katherine’s taming been so instructive that Sly and Hortensio can and will now replicatePetruchio’s taming school and “man their haggards?” Obviously, we have no clear answer. Both closings leave us hanging as to that reality, rather like the end of All's Well that Ends Wellwhere the King reminds us that "All yet seems well"(my emphasis; 5.3.333), yet as with a Shrewthe Induction to the Shrew comes full circle–with a twist. Rather than having abandoned Sly,the play has transformed him once again, and as Hortensio, new awakened from his vision of awealthy and therefore happy marriage with his Widow, it sends him forth to realize, or at least Shrew--16Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.attempt to realize, his dream of taming.Mary Free, Florida International University Shrew--17Free, Mary. “Hortensio’s Role in Closing The Taming of the Shrew’s Induction,” RenaissancePapers 1999 (1999): 43-53.Works CitedBean, John C. "Comic Structure and the Humanizing of Kate in The Taming of the Shrew."
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