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The Taming of the Shrew

William Shakespeare


Act IV, scenes i–ii

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Summary: Act IV, scene i

Petruchio and Kate are about to arrive at Petruchio’s country house. Grumio arrives first, however, complaining that he has been sent ahead to ensure that the servants prepare for the arrival of their master and his new wife. Curtis, another servant, greets him and hears his tale of the journey from Padua—Kate fell into the mud, Petruchio flew into a rage, and the horses ran away. Grumio then orders Curtis to assemble all the other servants, properly attired and on good behavior. Curtis calls for them, and a few arrive just as Petruchio and Kate return.

Petruchio immediately becomes enraged, claiming that his servants fail to attend him properly. They do their best, but clearly he is not pleased by anything. He demands dinner, and they prepare it as quickly as possible, but he claims that the meat is burned and pushes the whole meal off the table. In the meantime, Kate, visibly tired and hungry, pleads with him to be more patient with the servants. Petruchio cheerfully tells her that he demands much of them for her benefit—his new bride will receive nothing short of perfection, he says, pretending to ignore the fact that his new bride simply needs a hot meal. After taking her off to bed without food, Petruchio returns to the stage alone and announces his intentions. All his actions have been calculated to aggravate Kate and to keep her wanting, for he refers to her as a wild falcon that he must train to obey his call. He intends to prevent her from sleeping by making a fuss about the way the bed is made, just as he did with the food. This, he says, is the best way to “curb her mad and headstrong humour” (IV.i.190).

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Summary: Act IV, scene ii

Back in Padua, Tranio (still disguised as Lucentio) and Lucentio (still disguised as the schoolmaster) are trying to conclude their scheme to win Bianca for Lucentio. Hortensio, distraught at having lost Bianca to his rival schoolmaster, takes it upon himself to inform Lucentio that he too is out of luck in his pursuit of Bianca. Tranio plays along, feigning surprise when he sees the real Lucentio and Bianca courting each other during their “lesson.” He pretends to be so angry that he decides to foreswear Bianca’s charms, and he convinces Hortensio to do the same—thus cleverly removing the competition.

Tranio informs Bianca and Lucentio of these events after Hortensio leaves. Hortensio has decided to marry a wealthy widow instead of Bianca and is leaving to go to Petruchio’s to attend “taming-school.” He wants to see how Petruchio handles Kate so that he can apply the lessons to his own marriage. Just as Tranio finishes the story, Biondello rushes into the scene with encouraging news: he has just seen a man entering Padua who would make a convincing fake father for Lucentio.

Tranio approaches the newcomer, learning that he is a pedant schoolmaster from Mantua. He then comes up with a story to put the old man in his debt: the dukes of Mantua and Padua, he says, are at odds with each other, and the duke of Padua has proclaimed that anyone from Mantua found in Padua shall be put to death. The pedant, frightened out of his wits, promises a favor to Tranio in exchange for protection. Tranio says that, as it happens, he is in need of someone to act as his father (meaning Lucentio’s father, Vincentio), and so they seal the agreement.

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Analysis: Act IV, scenes i–ii

With the beginning of Act IV, the play begins to stick even more closely to the alternating plot/subplot structure that it has followed loosely up to this point: for the next several scenes, the action alternates on a scene-by-scene basis between the Petruchio/Katherine story and the Lucentio/Bianca story. In developing the main plot, this section devotes itself largely to a gradually developing joke in which Petruchio frustrates Kate by using an exaggerated pretense of concern for her comfort to keep her hungry, tired, and generally uncomfortable. In developing the subplot, this section is devoted to the consequences of the increasingly complex series of disguises and deceptions that both enable and complicate Lucentio’s courtship of Bianca.

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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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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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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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