What determines a character's worth? Are heroes more important than villains? Importance seems to vary subjectively, as does one's curiosity. In The Taming of the Shrew one may become identified with, intrigued by, or appalled by a number of characters, and as in much of Shakespeare's work, most characters bubble with complexity. In a play where disguise and transformation seem to be themes, a character with no apparent tie to either sticks out quite noticeably. Gremio is such a man. On the surface he appears quite stock in his purpose, and quite easily forgotten amidst a barrage of complex personalities. Diving a little deeper, one begins to see a man camouflaged in language as much as any other character in literal disguise. Quite certainly, Gremio is no accident, though one must quarry to find his function.
[...] 17) This appears perfectly normal, and in fact exists as a literary devise used throughout sixteenth-century rhetoric. What's fascinating is that Gremio goes on to use this technique to dominate most of his dialogue. Gremio's lines resemble Hortensio's again in Act Scene Hortensio: [ ] So shall I no whit be behind in duty To fair Bianca, so beloved of me. Gremio: Beloved of me, and that my deeds shall prove. ( line 172-175, pg. 32) Then in Act Gremio repeats Kate: Kate: I'll see thee hanged on Sunday first. [...]
[...] Perhaps the reason Gremio can't win the girl ties directly to language. In Kate's final speech, she seems to echo something her husband has driven into her head. Detained in the bonds of servant hood, her proverbial chains exist as the replication of her husband's desires in the words she speaks. Perhaps Gremio suffers her fate; that of being trapped in a world where you must perform, act, repeat, or replicate what you hear in order to survive. Language seems to tame the shrew, and ironically confine the very man that defines her as one. [...]
[...] point in the play it appears as if Gremio exists as just another man seeking a female companion, and thus his action appears dull and similar to every other male character. Perhaps a more sufficient way to find significance in Gremio remains. Besides considering a character in action amidst a pure story world, another possibility in examining characters rests in the language an author attributes them in the text itself. In this context, Gremio suddenly becomes a far more interesting figure in the play. [...]
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