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The Taming of the Shrew

William Shakespeare

Act 3 Scene 2

page Act 3 Scene 2 Page 1

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BAPTISTA and GREMIO enter, followed by TRANIO disguised as LUCENTIO, KATHERINE, BIANCA, LUCENTIO, and servants.


(to TRANIO) Signior Lucentio, this is the 'pointed day
That Katherine and Petruchio should be married,
And yet we hear not of our son-in-law.
What will be said? What mockery will it be,
5To want the bridegroom when the priest attends
To speak the ceremonial rites of marriage?
What says Lucentio to this shame of ours?


(to TRANIO as LUCENTIO) Signior Lucentio, this is the day appointed for Katherine and Petruchio’s wedding, but there’s no sign of the groom. What will people say? To have the priest right here, ready to perform the marriage ceremony, and be missing a bridegroom! What do you think about our humiliation, Lucentio?


No shame but mine. I must, forsooth, be forced
To give my hand, opposed against my heart,
10Unto a mad-brain rudesby, full of spleen,
Who wooed in haste and means to wed at leisure.
I told you, I, he was a frantic fool,
Hiding his bitter jests in blunt behavior,
And, to be noted for a merry man,
15He’ll woo a thousand, 'point the day of marriage,
Make friends, invite, and proclaim the banns,
Yet never means to wed where he hath wooed.
Now must the world point at poor Katherine
And say, “Lo, there is mad Petruchio’s wife,
20If it would please him come and marry her!”


The humiliation is all mine. You forced me to accept this man against my will, this fancy con artist who was in such a hurry to get engaged. He has no intention of marrying me. I knew it—I told you. The whole thing was a joke. He pretends to be this simple, backward guy, but it’s all a gag to amuse his witty friends. He goes around proposing to women—they set a date, he gets introduced around, they send out the invitations and make a public announcement, but he has no intention of going through with it. So now everyone will point at me and say, “Look, there goes the wife of that comedian Petruchio—if he could be bothered to marry the pathetic thing!”


(as LUCENTIO) Patience, good Katherine, and Baptista too.
Upon my life, Petruchio means but well,
Whatever fortune stays him from his word:
Though he be blunt, I know him passing wise;
25Though he be merry, yet withal he’s honest.


(speaking as LUCENTIO) No, no, I assure you, Katherine—and you, too, Baptista—Petruchio means well, whatever circumstance prevents him from keeping his word. He’s rough-edged, but he’s a good man, and though he likes a joke, he’s not a liar.