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|Play||The Taming of the Shrew|
|Source||14th-century Castilian tale|
|Role||Male romantic lead
Kate's wooer and later her husband
|Quote||Why, there's a wench! Come on, and kiss me, Kate.|
|Portrayed by||Arthur V. Johnson (silent, 1908)
Douglas Fairbanks ("talkie", 1929)
Alfred Lunt (stage, 1935)
Stanley Baker (TV, 1952)
Peter O'Toole (stage, 1960)
Richard Burton (film, 1967)
John Cleese (tv, 1980)
Timothy Dalton (stage, 1986)
Morgan Freeman (stage, 1990)
Neri Marcorè (Italian film, 2004)
Rufus Sewell (TV, 2005)
David Caves (stage, 2012)
Petruchio (an anglicisation of the Italian name Petruccio; Italian pronunciation: [peˈtruttʃo]) is the male romantic lead in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew (c. 1590–1594). 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. The role has attracted notable performers.
In the play, Petruchio comes to the town of Padua in the hopes of marrying a wealthy woman. Hortensio suggests that he marry Kate Minola, as she is very rich and her marriage will allow her sister to marry as well. Petruchio takes an interest in Kate, owing to the dowry he could potentially receive, and agrees. During his first encounter with Kate, he matches her fierce temper and manages to convince her father that she passionately loves him but only pretends to hate him in public. The two are married, with Petruchio arriving at the wedding late and forcing Kate to leave the ceremony feast early.
Petruchio then starts to try to "tame" his wife in a variety of ways. He frightens Kate by yelling at the servants and prevents her from eating by insisting that the dishes are not good enough for her. He then offers Kate presents of dresses and jewelry, only to return them saying that they too weren't good enough. When Bianca and Lucentio are married, he refuses to let Kate go to the wedding unless she agrees with everything he says (no matter how false it may seem). He later puts her to the test by telling her that a man is a woman and that the moon is the sun - she agrees with both statements.
At the wedding, Petruchio is taunted by Hortensio and Lucentio for having married a "shrew". He proposes a contest to see which man has the most obedient wife: All three will call for their wives and see which ones respond. Of the three women, only Kate comes and a triumphant Petruchio is the winner. Petruchio then orders Kate to bring the other wives and give a speech telling them to honor their husbands always.