Act 5, Scene 2: Padua. In Lucentio's House. Notes from Taming of the Shrew

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Taming of the Shrew Act 5, Scene 2: Padua. In Lucentio's House.

All parties, in their true attire and identity, are seated at a banquet table inside Lucentio's house, toasting the nuptials of both Bianca and Lucentio and Kate and Petruchio. Lucentio is the first to speak:

"At last, though long, our jarring notes agree,
And time it is, when raging war is done,
To smile at 'scapes and perils overblown.
My fair Bianca, bid my father welcome
While I wish self-same kindness welcome thine.
Brother Petruchio, sister Katherina,
And thou, Hortensio, with thy loving widow,
Feast with the best and welcome to my house.
My banquet is to close our stomachs up
After our great good cheer. Pray you, sit down,
For now we sit to chat as well as eat."
Act 5, Scene 2, lines 1-11

Hortensio's widow (and new bride) quibbles with Petruchio, Kate, and Hortensio about taming a shrew, trusting one's spouse, and becoming pregnant. Petruchio playfully orders her to kiss her husband, Hortensio, after making such silly comments as she has just made. Petruchio drinks to Hortensio, as they continue to jest with one another. Bianca wittily joins the conversation, aghast at being called a bird - prey - before she leaves the table with Kate and the widow.

With only the men remaining at the table, they tease each another about their wives. Petruchio claims that the widow has hit Hortensio in the past, while Baptista claims that Petruchio has married the greatest shrew of them all. They decide to bet on whose wife is the most shrewish. They will send for each of their wives, and whoever comes the quickest will win a wager of twenty crowns. Petruchio is shocked at such a low wager, for this game is not for his animal, it is about his wife. He raises the wager to one hundred crowns, to which everyone agrees.

Topic Tracking: Loyalty/Obedience 9

When Biondello is sent to fetch Bianca, Baptista informs Lucentio that he will cover half of his bet. However, wanting full responsibility, he will not have any help or halves. Biondello returns shortly, exclaiming that Bianca is busy and cannot be disturbed. Petruchio is shocked at such a response. Hortensio is the next to send for his wife. As he waits, he fears her response. She sends Biondello with regret, again, claiming that he is up to a trick or game, and bids him to come to her! Petruchio sends for Kate last. Hortensio believes that Kate will never come. However, as soon as he speaks so pejoratively of her, she is the first woman to walk back into the room at her husband's request. Petruchio inquires about the other women, to which Kate replies they are conversing by the fire. He asks Kate to bring them back to the table. She exits and returns with Bianca and the widow. While she is gone, Baptista remarks at such excitement of his changed daughter and wants to double her dowry and give Petruchio the money from the bet. "The wager thou hast won, and I will add / Unto their losses, twenty thousand crowns, / Another dowry to another daughter, / For she is changed as she had never been" Act 5, Scene 2, lines 112-115.

Topic Tracking: Loyalty/Obedience 10
Topic Tracking: Mistaken Identity 11

When they return, Petruchio plans to illustrate his wife's strict and complete obedience to his every call. He orders her to take off her cap and throw it on the ground. She does so, while Bianca and the widow complain of its futile nature and ridiculousness. They do not want to hear of how a wife must obey her husband. However, when Petruchio asks Kate to do so, she speaks with grace and loyalty of the importance of a wife to her husband, how quiet and submissive she must act, how she must love him always and do what he desires:

"Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
They head, thy sovereign - one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labor both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou li'st warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks, and true obedience:
Too little payment for so great a debt....
But now I see our lances are but straws,
Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
And place your hands below your husband's foot,
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready, may it do him ease."
Act 5, Scene 2, lines 146-154, lines 173-179

Topic Tracking: Loyalty/Obedience 11

Petruchio, ecstatic at listening to his wife's words, requests another kiss. After the events of the past few days, Petruchio bids goodnight to everyone: "Come, Kate, we'll to bed. / We three are married, but you two are sped. / 'Twas I won the wager, [to Lucentio] though you hit the white, / And being a winner, God give you good night" Act 5, Scene 2, lines 184-187. The couple exits. Hortensio commends Petruchio on taming such a shrew, while Lucentio look on his success in unparalleled awe.

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