The Taming of the Shrew | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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The Taming of the Shrew | Act 4, Scene 4 | Summary



In this scene the action briefly returns to Padua. Tranio has coached the Mantuan merchant and has told Baptista Minola to expect a visit from Vincentio soon. He and the merchant arrive at Baptista's home, and the merchant, posing as Vincentio, gives his consent to the wedding between his son and Bianca. Baptista agrees and Tranio invites him back to his lodgings to finalize the agreement.

Tranio and company depart, with Biondello staying behind. The real Lucentio arrives, and Biondello explains to him that all the arrangements are in place: Lucentio (still disguised as Cambio) is expected to bring Bianca to dinner at Tranio's house. This will be Lucentio's only opportunity to elope with Bianca. If he fails, Biondello says that he can "bid Bianca farewell forever and a day." Lucentio agrees to bring Bianca to Saint Luke's Church rather than to dinner.


At this point the Lucentio/Bianca love plot seems to be nearly resolved. The young couple finally have a moment alone, away from the watchful eye of Baptista Minola and the jealous gaze of Gremio. Tranio, who frequently goads Lucentio into action, urges him to be quick and decisive when the moment arrives. Everything seems to be in place, and Lucentio even breathes a small sigh of relief, asking, "Wherefore should I/doubt?" (Why should I worry?) But as the next Padua scene (Act 5, Scene 1) shows, Lucentio and his servants still have a few things to be worried about. With Lucentio and Tranio both still in disguise and an impostor standing in for Lucentio's father, their scheme rests on a shaky foundation.

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