HORTENSIO (The Taming of the Shrew)


In this paper, I’m going to write about Hortensio, one of the characters of the play “The taming of the shrew”, written by William Shakespeare probably in 1594 (www.wikipedia.org ).

            It’s a play that involves marriage, selfish love related to marriage (the main cause being money), and it’s located, first, in the induction, in the English countryside, but in all the rest of the play, it’s located in Padua (Italy ).

            Generally, we could say that Hortensio’s role is secondary (if we consider Petruccio, Kate, Lucentio and Bianca as the primary characters). Hortensio is a gentleman of Padua , and first appears as a suitor for Bianca’s love, but is rejected. Later, he devotes his time to direct Petruccio to Kate. On his selfish intentions, Hortensio, after being rejected by Kate, marries a widow woman ( www.sparknotes.com ).

            He first appears in Act I, as a competitor for Bianca’s love (the other one being Gremio on behalf of Lucentio). They both are told that, to marry Bianca, Kate should be married first. So, Hortensio solves this problem telling Petruccio to marry Kate, who is interested in marrying her because of her father’s money. Hortensio tries to be honest with Petruccio and tells him what Kate is like; he describes her as “wealthy, young, beautiful, properly brought up intolerably cursed, shrewed and forward”

(Act I, Scene 2) (www.freeessay.com ). Anyway, Petruccio feels attracted by this description, and likes the positive and negative sides of what Hortensio tells him.

            Following Hortensio’s development in the play, he dresses himself up as a music teacher for Bianca; at the same time, he also tries to see Kate, after asking her father Baptista; he offers himself as a music teacher for Kate as well. He tries to teach Kate how to play the lute, but he ends up with the lute smashed over his head. Instead of being frightened by her character, Petruccio likes her attitude and finds a second challenge in getting Kate’s love; the first one being money, and the second one, the opportunity of taming such a woman (www.wikipedia.org ; www.sparknotes.com ).

The next time we see Hortensio in the play, it’s in Petruccio’s house, after the marriage between Petruccio and Kate. Hortensio wants to see how Petruccio tames Kate, realizing that this situation could help him so as to tame a woman, in this case, his widow (it’s a very criticized aspect by feminist movements). Hortensio witnesses how Petruccio treats Kate (Petruccio takes Kate to his house after marrying, abandoning all the people invited to the marriage; later, he doesn’t feed her, and last, taking her to the banquet again; it seems that Petruccio is the mad one now) ( www.wikipedia.org ; www.sparknotes.com ).

The last act takes place in the banquet. Petruccio gives the last lesson of how to tame a woman, so as to teach Hortensio and Lucentio how to do it, because he boasts he’s achieved his goal, he’s tamed Kate, something that the rest of people think is impossible; when Baptista, Hortensio and Lucentio see it, they get astonished and they can’t believe it. Besides, they have to learn a lot, because, for example, Hortensio’s not been able to tame his rich widow (www.wikipedia.org ).

Hortensio is a character that depends on others, but he has a good attitude. He tries to learn things from everyone (mainly from Petruccio), so we can say that he’s a character who’s still developing his personality, who has not achieved maturity. He’s like a student who’s taking notes, in this case, for the subject of “how to tame a woman”. As we can see in the play, he has a lot to learn still.

Another characteristic is his relative selfishness, which is his negative side. He tries to get Bianca because of her money (apart from Bianca being beautiful, of course). But, as he doesn’t achieve his goal, he marries a rich widow. I mentioned “relative selfishness” because he helps Petruccio to achieve Kate’s acceptance, but in a play full of selfish people, Hortensio’s attitude is not so negative.

In conclusion, and referring to the main aspects that I wanted to emphasize (his development), Hortensio has grown up, but he has not achieved complete maturity, and learns things from others, with the risk of being totally influenced by those “others” (particularly by Petruccio). Maybe the fact of marrying an “untamed” woman could stop his development if he’s not able to dominate her, but those are lucubration, because Shakespeare decided to divide the play into only five acts.






-         www.wikipedia.org

o       The Taming of the Shrew

§        Hortensio

Visited: 22/26.11.2006; Contact “Wikimedia Foundation”


-         www.sparknotes.com

o       The Taming of the Shrew

§        Hortensio


Visited: 22/26.11.2006; Eds. B. Philips & S. Stallings


-         www.freeessay.com

o       The Taming of the Shrew

§        Hortensio


Visited: 22/26.11.2006; Contact: support@freeessay.com


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