Petruchio is the male romantic character in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. Petruchio is a fortune seeker who enters into a marriage with a strong-willed young woman named Kate and then proceeds to "tame" her temperamental spirit. Petruchio's methods and Kate's fifth act soliloquy are controversial for many men and women.
Petruchio is strong, rough and unyielding. He looks for a wife in haste and finds Kate. Kate is beautiful and young, but a shrew. She's sharp-tongued and defiant. But Petruchio stands firm and approaches Kate with kindness. With each of Petruchio's attempt at getting closer, Kate snaps back at him. But he ignore it and calls her "sweet Kate, gentle Kate." And finally he wins her. And they get married.
Petruchio proposes to his friends a contest to see which man has the most obedient wife: All three will call for their wives to see which one responds. Of the three women, only Kate comes, and Petruchio is the winner. Petruchio then orders Kate to bring the other wives and give a speech telling them to honor their husbands always.
Most people today would oppose Petruchio's behavior toward Kate, particularly how he expresses his "possession" of her. The story, however, does bring out something special in Kate. Petruchio's firmness and masculine determination, combined with his kindness and love for Kate, brings these two characters together in love, joy and matrimony.
In the final scene, Kate defends her man's position as the leader, guide and provider.
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 labor both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou li'st 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 ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace,
Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway,
Whey 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 froward 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.
It's up to two people in any relationship by deliberate decision and proper arrangement how to live together. Marriages are successful because each partner fully understands and embraces the role and responsibilities of that role in the relationship. Nothing, nothing, ever just works out on its own. It takes a conscious, thoughtful discussion about expectations and responsibilities that are often not clearly defined in a marriage relationship.
Marriages fail for three reasons: sex, money, and communication. If you're both rich and having lots of sex, great! Your marriage won't last 2 years. You have to communicate. I find that husbands in long-term successful, loving relationships have done the hard work of talking things through and being clear on what they're responsible for and what their wives expect of them. The specifics are up to the couple. For me, my wife and I fully understood that I was to be the leader, provider, and protector. And that understanding, deliberate decision, and proper arrangement has worked very well for us. See you in 40 years. :)
You may be interested in reading about how to strengthen our relationships.
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