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Summary Act 5

 

SCENE 1

Lucentio sneaks off with Bianca to meet a priest who will marry them.

Meanwhile, Vincentio arrives at his son’s quarters in Padua and knocks only be told to shove off by the Pedant. When Petruchio informs the Pedant that the man knocking is Lucentio’s father, the Pedant accuses Vincentio of identity theft. Presently, Biondello tries to evade his master’s father only to be accosted then beaten.

By and by, Tranio and Baptista confront Vincentio who recognizes Tranio. When Vincentio accuses Tranio of having murdered his son Lucentio, Tranio, feigning ignorance of his master’s father, summons an officer to have Vincentio arrested. However, Gremio, who has been hanging around the premises, intercedes on Vincentio’s behalf but stops short of taking an oath to the claim that the man who claims he is Vincentio is indeed Vincentio.

Vincentio is about to be escorted to jail when his son Lucentio appears and kneels before his father. Lucentio admits that the deception was all his doing and that his love for Bianca, with whom he has secretly gotten married, was what had compelled him to it. Consequently, Baptista is incredulous that Lucentio would marry his daughter without his—Baptista’s—express consent. However, Vincentio assures Baptista that he—Vincentio—will make up for his son’s rash behavior. As for his attempted arrest, Vincentio promises that the guilty parties will pay for their insolence.

Meanwhile, Petruchio requests a kiss from Katherine before they join the rest to see what will come of all the hullabaloo. When Katherine denies Petruchio, Petruchio threatens to have themselves return from whence they came, compelling Kate to oblige.

SCENE 2

All the differences having been settled, a feast is being held at Lucentio’s quarters. Good cheer and banter are the orders of the day, as the husbands Petruchio, Lucentio, and Hortensio and the three wives Katherine, Bianca, and the Widow exchange good-natured ribbing at the others’ expense. Presently, Tranio takes a verbal stab at Petruchio, compelling Petruchio to propose a wager that will prove once and for all which of the three wives is the most obedient to her husband. Lucentio and Hortensio take up the wager. Most opine that Petruchio’s wife Katherine will prove to be the most intractable.

Lucentio is the first to summon his wife, but Bianca sends word that she is too busy to appear. Hortensio then summons the Widow only to be told that she suspects him of mischief and that if he really wants to see her, then he—Hortensio—ought to go to her. However, when Petruchio summons his wife, Katherine appears promptly. Amazed, Lucentio and Hortensio wonder what this could mean. Petruchio tells them that it means domestic bliss.

Presently, Petruchio has Katherine fetch Bianca and the Widow, and despite Bianca’s and the Widow’s objections, he has Katherine deliver a lecture concerning the duties a wife owes her husband and their justifications. At the conclusion of the lecture, Petruchio takes Katherine by her hands and bids Lucentio, Hortensio, and the rest good night. Lucentio and Hortensio remain in a state of amazement.  

William Shakespeare