I believe he is a comic character and this part of him is true of himself but he is also a very self-centred character. He comes to Padua to marry and be wealthy as he says, “I come to wive it wealthily in Padua; if wealthily, then happily in Padua” (I. ii. 72-73). He is solely concerned with money and plans to woo the first girl that Hortensio mentions purely because her father is wealthy. He puts all his effort into deceiving her and wooing her into marriage, but marriage can’t be the only thing he wanted as he continues to tame her after the marriage itself.
He wants the tamed wife not just her wealth.
He rarely shows emotion towards Katherine but in a few scenes we do see alittle glimpse of it. When Baptista asks Petruchio to change his clothes he responds by saying, To me she’s married, not unto my clothes. Could I repair what she will wear in me As I can change these poor accoutrements, ‘Twere well for Kate and better for myself.
(III. ii. 110-113) It isn’t a great deal of emotion but it is very different to how he treats her when she is in his presence. I think that it suggests along with all the effort he puts into taming her that there are underlying feelings for Katherine but he doesn’t want to let her know.
This suggests he has hidden depths to his character but rarely likes to show his true self to people, especially not Katherine.
I think the tactic he takes in wooing her his very unusual. He is nice to her and pays her compliments and says the opposite to her. He is the first man to ever be nice to her, most men dislike her and bad mouth her to Petruchio, all that he spoke to warned him off her. For him to be nice to her must show either that he is a completely self centred man who will do anything to get his money or that he does infect feel something for Katherine.
He does indeed treat her badly which is shown in the description from Grumio of Katherine falling off her horse (IV. i. 53-62). Curtis then says “by this reckoning he is more shrew than she”. But as I have shown in the small extract above he can also be nice about Katherine. He is a very hard character to understand. His character is quite complex and he often hides behind his disguises, farce I think being one of them. He uses it to play the fool so not to show his true feelings, as with his wedding outfit.
He is very money orientated but with perhaps alittle feeling coming through for Katherine towards the end of the play perhaps he met his match in Katherine and we then sometimes see little glimpses of a softer side. In this essay I have discussed whether I agree that Petruchio is purely a farcical character. In conclusion I don’t agree with the statement. Petruchio is indeed a farcical character but he is not purely so, he has other sides to him, he is quite a complex character and you really have to look beyond his humour to see Petruchio true self.
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