The Taming of the Shrew

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 9

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TRANIO

165Not possible. For who shall bear your part
And be in Padua here Vincentio’s son,
Keep house and ply his book, welcome his friends,
Visit his countrymen and banquet them?

TRANIO

No, not a chance. You’re supposed to be here in Padua studying. So who would fill in for you—pretend to be Vincentio’s son, live in his house, pore over his books, welcome his friends, and wine and dine his fellow expatriates from Pisa?

LUCENTIO

Basta, content thee, for I have it full.
170We have not yet been seen in any house,
Nor can we be distinguished by our faces
For man or master. Then it follows thus:
Thou shalt be master, Tranio, in my stead,
Keep house and port and servants as I should.
175I will some other be, some Florentine,
Some Neapolitan, or meaner man of Pisa.
'Tis hatched, and shall be so. Tranio, at once
Uncase thee. Take my colored hat and cloak.

LUCENTIO

Enough! Don’t worry, I have it all figured out. No one has seen us yet, and no one knows what we look like—which of us is master and which servant. It’s obvious: You will be me, Tranio—live in my house, instruct the servants and do everything in my place just as I would. I, meanwhile, will impersonate some other made-up fellow—some guy from Florence or Naples, or some poor guy from Pisa. There! That’s a plan. Take off what you’re wearing and put on my hat and cloak.
They exchange clothes
They exchange clothes.
When Biondello comes, he waits on thee,
180But I will charm him first to keep his tongue.
Here comes Biondello. Where have you been, boy?

BIONDELLO

Where have I been? Nay, how now, where are you? Master, has my fellow Tranio stolen your clothes? Or you stolen his? Or both? Pray, what’s the news?

BIONDELLO

Where have I been? Where are you? Has Tranio stolen your clothes, master? Or have you stolen his? Have you both stolen each other’s? Please, what’s going on?

LUCENTIO

Sirrah, come hither: ’tis no time to jest,
And therefore frame your manners to the time.
Your fellow Tranio here, to save my life,
185Puts my apparel and my countenance on,
And I for my escape have put on his;
For in a quarrel since I came ashore
I killed a man and fear I was descried.
Wait you on him, I charge you, as becomes,
190While I make way from hence to save my life.
You understand me?

LUCENTIO

Come here, boy. It’s no time for jokes: sober up. Tranio and I have traded clothes to save my life. I killed a man in a fight since we came ashore, and I’m worried someone saw me. While I make my escape, I need you to wait on Tranio as though he were me. Understand?

BIONDELLO

    Aye, sir. (aside) Ne'er a whit.

BIONDELLO

Of course, sir. (to the audience) Not a word.

LUCENTIO

And not a jot of “Tranio” in your mouth.
Tranio is changed into Lucentio.

LUCENTIO

And you’re not to utter a syllable of Tranio’s name. “Tranio” is now “Lucentio.”

BIONDELLO

The better for him. Would I were so too.

BIONDELLO

Lucky for him. Wish I could say the same.

TRANIO

195So could I, faith, boy, to have the next wish after,
That Lucentio indeed had Baptista’s youngest daughter.
But, sirrah, not for my sake, but your master’s, I advise
You use your manners discreetly in all kind of companies.
When I am alone, why then I am Tranio;
200But in all places else, your master Lucentio.

TRANIO

I’d second your wish if it automatically meant that Lucentio could have Baptista’s youngest daughter. This is for your master’s sake, not mine. So watch your step when there are other people around. When we’re by ourselves you can call me “Tranio.” Everywhere else, address me as your master Lucentio.