What better way to kick off the week leading up to Valentine’s Day than with a look at the love stats of one of Shakespeare’s most famous couples- Kate and Petruchio from The Taming of the Shrew!
Petruchio: Recently orphaned
Kate: Elder daughter, Daddy’s second favourite
Petruchio: “Why, he’s a devil, a devil, a very fiend.” (Gremio’s opinion, 3.2.154)
Kate: “Why, she’s a devil, a devil, the devil’s dam” (Tranio’s opinion, 3.2.155)
What they wanted from this relationship
“I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
If wealthily then happily in Padua.” (1.2.74-75)
“…we have ‘greed so well together
That upon Sunday is the wedding day” (2.1.190-191
Kate: “I’ll see thee hanged on Sunday first” (2.1.192)
How they met
It was quite a rocky start for these two. Both Katherine and Petruchio have…strong opinions, which get them into explosive situations. But on the upside, their first conversation is also their first fight (2.1.182-271), so that’s one relationship hurdle over and done with!
Top 3 bumps on the way to true love
1. The day they meet
There is friction in their relationship right from the beginning. Petruchio is in it for the money, while Kate isn’t in it for anything. In fact, she’d much prefer that it didn’t happen at all. She puts up a good fight, but as we are in the Elizabethan era, and she is the daughter of a wealthy gentleman with a reputation to protect, it’s her word against Petruchio’s. And he has no problem bending the truth to Kate’s father, Old Baptista:
“O, the kindest Kate!
She hung about my neck, and kiss on kiss
She vied so fast, protesting oath on oath,
That in a twink she won me her love.” (2.1.300-303)
2. The wedding
For a wedding that was thrown together by the bride’s family in the space of a week, very little of the drama is on Kate’s end. Petruchio shows up late, dressed in raggedy mismatched clothes, swears through the ceremony, assaults the priest, knocks back a bottle of wine and spews it in his guests’ faces. Not exactly anyone’s idea of a fairytale wedding.
3. The “honeymoon”
In true Petruchio fashion, he abuses his servants, sends away perfectly good food, spends all night making their bed and loudly complaining, “and amid this hurly [he intends] / That all is done in reverent care of her” (4.1.189-190).
Happily ever after
At the point when Petruchio tries to convince Kate that the burning midday day sun is, in fact, the moon, she finally give sin and accepts the fact that she has married a madman. Petruchio’s prediction at the beginning of the play that “where two raging fires meet together, / They do consume the thing that feeds their fury” (2.1.132-33) has finally come true, and these two raging fires live madly ever after.
Will it last?
Who better to set the devil up with than the devil’s dam? The (hell)fire of love between Kate and Petruchio is an eternal flame.