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MonkeyNotes-The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, Scene 5

Kate, Petruchio and Hortensio are on their way to Baptista’s house. Petruchio remarks how bright the moon is, and Kate tells him that it is the sun. Petruchio says that it will be what he says or else they will go back home. Kate submissively agrees and calls it the moon. When Petruchio later calls it the sun, Kate agrees again and states that she will call it whatever Petruchio tells her to call it. This is a changed Kate, who is now flexible and obedient.

As they travel towards Padua, they come upon the real Vincentio, who is on his way to visit his son Lucentio. Petruchio calls the old man a young virgin, and once again Kate agrees. Learning the identity of the old man, Petruchio informs Vincentio that they are probably related by now, for Lucentio was planning to marry Katherine’s sister Bianca when they last saw them. Vincentio is shocked at the news and thinks they are joking.


Notes

In this scene, the climax occurs, for Shakespeare reveals the success of Petruchio’s scheme; Katherine is finally tamed. She realizes that her husband’s exaggerated behavior is a true reflection of her own shrewish actions. She also recognizes what Petruchio has wanted her to be and complies with his expectations. On the trip to Padua, she becomes a kind and obedient wife who fully accepts the authority of her husband, even when she knows he is wrong.

Petruchio tests Katherine by calling Vincentio a young virgin. She quickly agrees with him. Knowing that his plan has finally worked, Petruchio drops his shrewish charades and returns to his real self--a sober, pleasant young man. He even begins to show some affection towards his wife. His married life with Katherine can now assume some normalcy, for he has accomplished his goal. Petruchio has taught his shrewish wife a life-changing lesson; as a result, both Katherine and her husband will lead much happier lives.

Petruchio proves that he is truly a changed man in his interaction with Vincentio. He is kind and courteous to the old man as he explains how they are probably related.

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