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MonkeyNotes-The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, Scene 2

In Padua, Tranio and Hortensio are seen spying upon Lucentio and Bianca, who are involved in an openly amorous encounter. Tranio, pretending to be shocked at what he sees, cries out dramatically and curses "unconstant womankind." Hortensio, who cannot believe his eyes, discards his tutor image and reveals his real identity. Tranio begs him to forget Bianca, and he agrees. Hortensio then declares that he will marry a widow who has loved him for a long time.

As soon as Hortensio departs, Tranio rushes over to the couple to tell them the latest details. When the Pedant arrives, Tranio gives him details on how to act as they leave the stage.


Notes

In this scene, the action of the sub-plot is significantly advanced. It is obvious that Lucentio, still in the guise of the tutor Cambio, and Bianca are very much in love. With a push from the conniving Tranio, Hortensio decides to give up on Bianca and marry a widow whom he knows; therefore, Bianca’s suitors are reduced by one. Lucentio’s prospects are also furthered by the fact that Biondello has located the Pedant, who shows himself to be a foolish man. He believes Tranio’s story that Padua and Mantua are rival cities and agrees to play the part of Vincentio, approving the dowry offered by his son.

When Tranio says that Hortensio will tame his widow, Bianca disagrees for she feels that women are not easily controlled. Her feelings faintly foreshadow the fact that Bianca is the one who cannot be tamed at the end of the play.

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