In the play's final scene, the assembled company enjoys a banquet in Lucentio's home. There are three newlywed couples - Kate and Petruchio, Lucentio and Bianca and Hortensio and the Widow. The women leave and Baptista remarks that Petruchio has married "the veriest shrew of all." (5.2: 64) Petruchio heartily disagrees, and proposes a wager - the men agree on a hundred crowns - to determine "whose wife is most obedient." (5.2: 67) Both Hortensio and Lucentio bid their wives to come as part of the bargain, and both wives refuse. The one wife who does follow the order is, to all but Petruchio's surprise, Katharina. Petruchio, to prove the point even further, asks Katharina to bring forth the other two wives, which she promptly does. Petruchio then requests that she "tell these headstrong women/What duty they do owe their lords and husbands." (5.2: 134-135) Katharina does as asked, delivering a long speech on a wife's duty to her husband.
Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow, And dart not scornful glances from those eyes To...View Full Monologue Text
Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow,
And dart not scornful glances from those eyes
To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor.
It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads,
Confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair buds,
And in no sense is meet or amiable.
A woman mov'd is like a fountain troubled-
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty;
And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks, and true obedience-
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince,
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;
And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
I am asham'd that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace;
Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway,
When they are bound to serve, love, and obey.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come, you forward and unable worms!
My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
My heart as great, my reason haply more,
To bandy word for word and frown for frown;
But now I see our lances are but straws,
Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
And place your hands below your husband's foot;
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready, may it do him ease.
PlayName: Taming of the Shrew, The
Rating: Suitable for all ages
Copyright Status: Public domain
AuthorName: William Shakespeare
Eras: 1601-1700, 1501-1600
Age Range: 20s - Late, 30s - Early
Dialects: Standard American, Standard English