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The Taming of the Shrew

William Shakespeare

Act III, scene i

Act II, scene i

Act III, scenes ii–iii

Summary: Act III, scene i

It is now Saturday, the day before Katherine is scheduled to wed Petruchio. Lucentio and Hortensio, in their respective disguises as Cambio and Litio, are “instructing” Bianca somewhere in Baptista’s house, and the scene begins with the two of them battling for her exclusive attention. Bianca clearly has begun to form a preference, and she ends the dispute by declaring that she will hear her Latin lesson from Lucentio first, while Hortensio tunes his instrument.

During the Latin lesson, with Hortensio out of hearing range, Lucentio conveys his true intentions to Bianca through a mock translation of a Latin paragraph. She replies to him, in the same way, that she distrusts him, and yet she does not hide the fact that she is taken with her young suitor. Hortensio tries to break in at intervals, but Bianca sends him off to tune again until she has finished her conversation with Lucentio.

Lucentio concludes and Hortensio returns to try his own hand at wooing Bianca. He gives her a sheet with a “gamut,” or scale, of notes on it, with romantic words cleverly inserted to indicate his true intention. Hortensio’s words take a different tone, though. While Lucentio was confident and coy, Hortensio pleads almost pitifully: “show pity, or I die” (III.i.76). Bianca resists his attempt more directly, failing to give the playful glimmer of hope she afforded Lucentio. Before Hortensio can respond, a servant enters, calling upon Bianca to prepare for her sister’s wedding the next day.

Lucentio also leaves, and Hortensio, alone, considers the signals he received from Bianca. He sees clearly that Lucentio is infatuated with Bianca. But he does not yet know what her intentions are, and he suspects that his own chances might be slim. Preparing for the possibility of rejection, his former enthusiasm dwindles, and he tells himself that he will simply find another wife if Bianca proves unwilling.

Analysis: Act III, scene i

Despite the unorthodox presence of the Induction and the story of Christopher Sly, the narrative form of The Taming of the Shrew is generally extremely straightforward. It follows the two plots initiated in Act I, scene i: the main plot, involving Katherine’s wooing and marriage, and the subplot, involving Bianca’s wooing and marriage. This scene offers a diversion from the main plot by turning to the subplot—the wooing of Bianca by her competing suitors.

In Act III, scene i, the play continues to verbally excite as well as explore deeper aspects of love and marriage. Like the argument between Petruchio and Kate in the last scene, the exchange between Lucentio and Bianca displays Shakespeare’s considerable skill with puns. It also subtly explores the idea of women in marriage again, this time by contrasting how Lucentio and Hortensio treat Bianca.

The scene employs its fair share of humor. Lucentio’s mock Latin lesson pokes fun at the fact that foreign languages are often more compact than English. He translates a ridiculously long English phrase from one or two Latin words: “‘Simois,’ I am Lucentio, ‘hic est,’ son unto Vincentio of Pisa,” and so forth (III.i.3132). Hortensio’s wooing is just as clever. He uses the scale of notes and their syllable names to convey a series of puns: “B—mi—Bianca, take him for thy lord,” with the play on “Be my Bianca,” and so forth (III.i.73).

The scene provides more than just clever comedy, however. It establishes the foundation, or perhaps the lack of foundation, of Lucentio and Bianca’s love. In contrast to the previous oppositional scene between Petruchio and Kate, the courting here is much more effortless. Lucentio does not have to work as hard as Petruchio did. Bianca expresses some misgivings because she does not know Lucentio, but she makes it clear that she already prefers him to Hortensio. In many ways, it seems natural for two young, attractive, and sympathetic characters of the play to come together, but this quick and easy match has consequences later on.

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Tranio's Character in Scene 1- Act1 (scene- when he and his servant reach Padua, when they are at Baptista's house)

by TTOSfreak, September 12, 2013

Lucentio is a very kind and obedient servant. He agrees to every thing that his master Lucentio says. Lucentio's father had told Tranio to take good care of his master while in Padua [ Lucentio had come to study at a famous university, but he fell in love with Bianca later ]. Since Tranio is aware of his master's love Bianca( the youngest daughter of Baptista Minola ), he helps him [Lucentio] in all ways possible.

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4 out of 16 people found this helpful

Comparison of the nature's of Katherina and Bianca

by TTOSfreak, September 12, 2013

Katherina and Bianca are like the north pole and south pole. They both have different characteristics and different natures.

KATHERINA:- Katherina is Baptista Minola's eldest daughter. She is an intolerable, curst, ill favored and shrewd young lady. She is famous in Padua for her scolding tongue. She is so "wild", unpleasant and hot tempered that no man wants to marry her. She thinks her father loves her sister Bianca more than he loves her. Katherina does not care about marriage and does not want any man to love her. She is disliked... Read more

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87 out of 106 people found this helpful

Petruchio's "Image" on how he arrives for the wedding [Act-3, Scene-2]

by TTOSfreak, November 16, 2013

Petruchio is late for his wedding. All the family members and guests are worried about the fact if he is coming or not.
[Note: this is just an overview of the topic]

Petruchio comes dressed up in a new hat, an old jerkin, a pair of old breeches (that were turned thrice), a pair of boots, with a broken hilt an chapless, and with two broken points. Even his horse was looking messed up. The horse was hipped-- with an old mothy saddle and some stirrups of no kindred-- besides, possessed with the glanders and like to mose in chine; t... Read more

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22 out of 38 people found this helpful

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