Something that really struck me during this read was the first exchange between Petruccio and Katherine in Act II Scene 1. The conversation reminded me of an intense verbal boxing match; when one opponent swung, the other fired back swiftly and fiercely. Both characters were hit ‘below the belt,’ yet didn’t let the blow shake them. This resilience requires a tough exterior and a very strong will that both Katherine and Petruccio maintain throughout. Upon entering this “match,” Petruccio knew exactly what he wanted and he wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of his quest for victory.
Throughout Act II, the readers become very acquainted with the fiery nature of Katherine. We see her beat her helpless and bound sister, swear revenge on her father, and smash a lute over the head of Hortensio. She has certainly proven herself to be the top contender. When Petruccio comes into the picture, I definitely questioned his ability to hold his ground with Katherine. After the first few lines of the conversation my doubts are completely squashed. Petruccio absolutely proves himself a worthy opponent for the “shrew.” After each of Katherine’s quick and witty jabs, Petruccio knows exactly what to say to keep him self in the running. I can vividly imagine the confident smirk on his face while Katherine grows red with fury. When it comes to witty comebacks, it seems Katherine has met her match. One of my favorite exchanges between the quick-witted duo is lines 218-220, where Kate first exclaims, “What is your crest? A coxcomb?” and Petruccio insinuatingly replies, “A combless cock, so Kate will be my hen.” And Kate fires back with “No cock of mine. You crow too like a craven.” Needless to say, I was very entertained during Petruccio’s “chase.”
In today’s world, I think we can see a conversation much like Petruccio and Katherine’s in our local P&G’s on any given Friday night. There are plenty of persistent, smoothing-talking guys today that love a challenging hook up. If a girl doesn’t give seem to be interested, these guys, like Petruccio, do not back down just yet. Sometimes, a girl may be impressed with this persistence and confidence. Other times, however, a girl may react in the same way Katherine does—with swift slap in the face. Fortunately for women today, we are not forced into a marriage with these guys that wont take no for an answer. Katherine, however, was not so lucky. Even though she had to give in and marry Petruccio, she certainly put up a solid fight and showed her future husband just whom he was dealing with.