Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Katherine's Bad Day

Baptista Minola. What, will my daughter prove a good musician?

Hortensio. I think she'll sooner prove a soldier:
Iron may hold with her, but never lutes.

Baptista Minola. Why, then thou canst not break her to the lute?

Hortensio. Why, no; for she hath broke the lute to me.
I did but tell her she mistook her frets,
And bow'd her hand to teach her fingering,
When, with a most impatient devilish spirit,
'Frets, call you these?' quoth she 'I'll fume with them.'
And with that word she struck me on the head,
And through the instrument my pate made way;
And there I stood amazed for a while,
As on a pillory, looking through the lute,
While she did call me rascal fiddler
And twangling Jack, with twenty such vile terms,
As she had studied to misuse me so.

(The Taming of the Shrew, Act 2, scene 1, 989-1003)

Poor Kate really gets a bad rap from all those gossipy guys in Padua. Surely everyone has a bad day once in a while! (Granted, this is a really, really bad day.) But sometimes the "twangling Jacks" of the world really fret us over the edge. Good thing Katherine has a ready supply of insults! She sure seems to be the perfect match for Petruchio, for as we shall see, he has a goodly store of insults all his own... 

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