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The Taming of the Shrew

William Shakespeare

Act IV, scene vi–Act V, scene i

Act IV, scenes iii–v

Act V, scene ii

Summary: Act IV, scene vi

Petruchio, Kate, and Hortensio journey back to Padua. On the way, Petruchio continues his relentless attempts to coax Kate to submit to his authority as her husband. Though it is midday, Petruchio comments on how brightly the moon is shining, and when Kate responds that the sun is shining, he refuses to continue the journey until she admits that it is the moon. Having no more energy or patience to put up resistance and anxious to return to Padua, Kate concedes. Then, however, Petruchio reverses his claim and says that it is in fact the sun. Hortensio finally persuades Petruchio that he has tamed her, and they continue the journey.

After they have gone a short way, a similar incident occurs. They pass an old man on the same road to Padua, and Petruchio claims that, in fact, the old man is a young maid. Furthermore, he entreats Kate to embrace the maid. This time, Kate immediately obeys, but Petruchio then says she is mistaken, for the maid is really an old man. Kate continues to play along.

The old man turns out to be Vincentio, the true father of Lucentio. He tells the trio that he has come to visit his son in Padua. Petruchio happily tells him of the marriage expected between Bianca and Lucentio and realizes that this will make Vincentio Petruchio’s father-in-law. A bit confused, they all continue their journey to Padua together in order to sort things out there.

Summary: Act V, scene i

Back in Padua, Biondello hurriedly takes Lucentio and Bianca to the church, where the priest is ready to marry them. Lucentio is no longer disguised as Cambio the schoolmaster. Just as they leave, Petruchio’s party enters along with Vincentio, and they knock on the door of Lucentio’s house, where Tranio and the pedant currently reside in their respective disguises. When the pedant answers, Vincentio says that he is Lucentio’s father, but the pedant claims to be the true father and calls for the imposter’s arrest. Just then, Biondello arrives, turning white when he sees his old master, Vincentio, who recognizes him. Biondello pretends not to notice Vincentio, as Baptista, Tranio, and the pedant come out of the house. Vincentio also recognizes Tranio in Lucentio’s clothing, and he is further enraged when Tranio pretends not to know him.

The crowd turns against Vincentio and prepares to escort him to jail, when Lucentio and Bianca, newly married, arrive from the church. Biondello, Tranio, and the pedant take this moment of confusion to run away from the scene, knowing that the game is up. Lucentio can do nothing but beg his father’s pardon and disclose the scheme to everyone present. He explains that his deception stemmed from his love for Bianca, which pacifies the two fathers somewhat. Nevertheless, they depart to seek some small revenge on the men who fooled them.

Kate and Petruchio stand in amazement at the proceedings. They follow the rest inside to see the conclusion, but not before Petruchio demands one more thing of his wife. He asks her to kiss him, there in the middle of the street. Initially, Kate refuses, saying she is ashamed to do so. But when Petruchio threatens to turn them around and return to his home, Kate kisses him. Petruchio finally seems satisfied with her, and they go in.

Analysis: Act IV, scene vi–Act V, scene i

These scenes essentially set up the conclusion of both the main plot and the subplot by illustrating the apparent completion of Kate’s taming and the unraveling of Lucentio and Tranio’s scheme. The disguises that gave great power to Lucentio and to Tranio finally fall away, embarrassing the two young men. No outfit can forever conceal a man’s true nature, as Tranio unintentionally reveals in his hasty chiding of Vincentio: “Sir, you seem a sober, ancient gentleman by your habit, but your words show you a madman” (V.i.6162). Tranio soon receives his just desserts, however, when everyone sees that Vincentio is indeed “a sober, ancient gentleman,” and that Tranio is the one whose appearance obscures his true nature. Luckily for the young wedded couple, Lucentio’s true nature satisfies Baptista, who allows the marriage to stand. Again, though, how this marriage will progress now that Cambio has changed back into Lucentio remains undetermined. The passionate fire of young, naïve courtship must settle itself into the quiet flame of married life. (Incidentally, the name “Cambio” is also the Italian verb “to change.”)

The wall between Kate and Petruchio finally begins to crumble in these two scenes. Petruchio gives the impression that he will never approve of Kate’s behavior, for even when she denies what she sees with her own eyes in order to satisfy him, he insults her. After they argue about the shining of the sun and the moon, however, Kate gives him absolute power, even over the definition of reality: “What you will have it named, even that it is, / And so it shall be still for Katherine” (IV.vi.2223). Petruchio finally seems pleased, but soon he tests her again, asking her to kiss him in public. After her initial resistance and subsequent concession, Petruchio makes a remark that seems to signify the conclusion of the taming: “Is this not well? Come, my sweet Kate. / Better once than never, for never too late” (V.i.130131). He seems to mean that it is never too late for her to lose her shrewishness for good and become his “ideal” wife.

While frustration certainly plays a part in Kate’s final submission, she does not simply allow Petruchio to have his way with her out of desperation. After Kate kisses him in the street, she says, “Now pray thee love, stay” (V.i.129). She calls him “love,” not in her usual cynical tone, but with an authentic desire for his company, even despite his recent treatment of her. Finally satisfied, Petruchio responds by calling her “my sweet Kate” (V.i.130). Whereas their previous battles ended in a standoffish tone, here, for the first time, the couple shows genuine, kind feelings for each other. Moreover, the entire exchange concerning the kiss seems more flirtatious than the others, if for no other reason than Petruchio’s potentially self-deprecating line when Kate refuses to kiss. He says, “What, art thou ashamed of me?” (V.i.126). Kate actually begins this exchange by illustrating her acceptance of their union by calling Petruchio “Husband” (V.i.122). Ultimately, this short exchange suggests an interpretation of their entire journey as a struggle against the confines of marriage. Kate still obeys Petruchio and calls him husband, and Petruchio still has the ability to make them go home should she refuse. But there, in the middle of the public street, Petruchio asks her to forgo custom, and when she does, they find love.

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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.
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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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