The Taming of the Shrew
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Grumio

My master is mad.

[1.2.18]

Also called

  • ‘Sirrah Grumio’ [Petruchio 1.2.5],
  • ‘My old friend,’ [Hortensio 1.2.21],
  • ‘Ancient, trusty, pleasant servant,’ [Hortensio 1.2.46],
  • ‘False deluding slave’ [Katherina 4.3.31]

Relationship Status

Single

Character biography

I am Petruchio’s poor old servant and I follow him wherever he goes even though he can be cruel and unfair to me, even hitting me sometimes. I follow all his commands to the letter, even though sometimes I’m not sure it’s the right thing to do, because I am loyal like a good servant should be. I am even helping him to marry the wild Katherina so he can get her dowry and tame her into being a wife to him.

Serves…

Petruchio

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The Good Servant Guide

The essential guide for everyone looking for the best servants

The experienced ordinary servant

GSG: We meet a key servant this month which is the experienced ordinary servant. This is the type of servant who seems to have been part of the family for many years and is totally reliable. Grumio is an outstanding example. Welcome Grumio please tell us a little about your background.

Grumio: I really don’t know why you want to talk to me, I am nothing special just an ordinary servant who has been around for a long time.

GSG: That is precisely why you are perfect to speak to us so that people know what to look for in an ordinary servant.

Grumio: Oh right, if you are sure. Well, I suppose I would say that you have to find someone who is prepared to put up with a lot.

GSG: What do you have to put up with? Can you give us an example?

Grumio: Yes, take my master Petruchio. He is always getting angry with me and even boxes me about the ears if I do something wrong. You have to put up with regular beatings I would say.

GSG: What sort of things do you do wrong?

Grumio: He tells me to knock him and when I do, he beats me and then says he wanted me to knock on a gate. I am most abused by him. Yes, you have to put up with a lot as a servant.

GSG: Has it always been like this?

Grumio: No it has changed recently. My master’s father Antonio has recently died so I now work for Petruchio his son. Antonio was always clear; you knew where you were with him but, his son, that is another matter. Petruchio is so wild I feel I can never tell what is going to happen next. An ordinary servant has to be prepared for anything and keep on the lookout for what he wants next.

GSG: He sounds like a most demanding master. What is it like back at home?

Grumio: I’d say it is much the same. All of us servants we have to keep on our toes. Because I have spent so long with the family I have to tell the others what to do. So the longer you are in service with a family the more they expect and all for the same pay of course. If he ever finds a wife things might be better, but I don’t think any wife will enjoy life with Petruchio!

GSG: Thank-you Grumio for sharing your experiences with us.