Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Note to The Taming of the Shrew, 1.2.111-113: "he'll rail in his rope-tricks . . . he will throw a figure"

The Taming of the Shrew,
Act 1, Scene 2, lines 111-113.
It's clear that Grumio is standing up for his master and scoffing at Hortensio's warning that Katharina is a notorious scold. However, not much else is clear. Some editors explain "rope-tricks" as a malapropism for "rhetorics" and "figure" as short for "figure of speech," but those explanations do little to explain how a figure could be thrown into Katharina's face and blind her. Furthermore, I don't believe that Grumio makes malapropisms; he's a clown, but not a stupid one. I think that Grumio is the sort of character who likes to make private jokes in public, just to see people's heads spin.

Cyril Cusak as Grumio