Is it true that having an obsession with money could lead to making radical decisions? In the play The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, there is constant decision making on who or whom not to marry. In particular, Petruchio, one of the main characters in the play, is specific about who he marries due to his obsession with money. He says that he will only marry someone if they have lots of money, no matter how they look or act. Therefore, Petruchio’s philosophy of life is to marry for wealth not for love because he doesn’t actually take marriage seriously and only cares about the money that comes with it.
First of all, throughout the play, Petruchio uses character voice to communicate his carelessness about marriage. During his wedding, he uses a farcical, and joking character voice to show how he doesn’t care. He comes dressed horribly and talks like nothing is happening: “Gentles, methinks you frown. / And wherefore gaze this goodly company / As if they saw some wondrous monument, / some comet or unusual prodigy?” (Shr.3.2.66-9).
The character voice in this passage is a joking voice because he is pretending that nothing is wrong when he clearly knows something is. He doesn’t care how he is dressed at his wedding, showing how he doesn’t actually care about the marriage itself. This character voice also makes the mood a laughable mood. It makes the readers feel like this is not a serious wedding and actually, a funny part when in reality it should be more serious than it really is. Using character voice is a way of showing Petruchio’s philosophy of life throughout the text. Also, Petruchio uses the stylistic technique of allusions to exalt the carelessness he has about his wife’s personality and looks.
After his arrival in Padua, he states what he looks for in a wife: “As wealth is burden of my wooing dance, / Be she as foul as was Florentius' love,/ As old as Sibyl and as curst and shrewd / As Socrates' Xanthippe, or a worse, / She moves me not, or not removes at least” (Shr.1.2.54-8). This shows how he really doesn’t care how his wife is, unless she has money. He says that the woman he may marry may be as “foul as was Florentius’ love,” this is referring to an old story in which an old woman saved the life of the knight Florent and after that, he was forced to marry her even if she was old. He also states that she may be as unpleasant as “Socrates’ Xanthippe,” this refers to a woman that has a reputation of being a great shrew. She may be old, ugly, or a shrew, and Petruchio doesn’t care as long as she is rich.
These allusions further communicate Petruchio’s arrogant, tough manner of speaking. He is not ashamed to talk about his selfishness, and he also is openly honest about his opinion on the economic aspect of marriage, all of his desires are for money and he thinks that by having a lot of money he will live a happier life. Finally, Petruchio’s philosophy of life shapes the story because if he would’ve cared how his wife acts and looks, he would have never married Katherine. If he would’ve never married Kate, the story wouldn’t exist because she would have never been tamed and Bianca would have never gotten married. In conclusion, Petruchio’s philosophy of life is to not care who you are marrying unless they have money. This is why Petruchio doesn’t take marriage seriously and treats it like a joke.