In The Taming of the Shrew, how does Tranio convince the pedant to masquerade as Vincentio in act 4, scene 2.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The wily servant Tranio—disguised as his master Lucentio—needs to find someone who can masquerade as Lucentio's father, Vincentio. This is all part of his elaborate, convoluted plan to negotiate the marriage of Lucentio to Bianca. Biondello thinks he's found the ideal man for the job; he's either a pedant (teacher) or some kind of merchant. Tranio approaches the pedant and asks him where's he from. When the man replies that he's from Padua, Tranio tells him that he's in real trouble because the Duke of Mantua has just ordered the execution of all Paduan citizens. Tranio, still in the guise of Lucentio, advises the pedant that he should pretend to be his father in order to save his neck. The pedant gladly accepts Tranio's advice, and the next phase of the servant's cunning plan can now be put into action.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of the things I absolutely love about Shakesperian comedies, is that just when you think things can't get even more confused and twisted, something like this happens to prove you wrong! Tranio shows great intelligence and quick-wittedness as he tricks the Pedant into believing that there is a dispute between Mantua and Padua, so much so that the Duke of Padua has declared that anybody from Mantua who is found in Padua will be killed:

'Tis death for anyone in Mantua

To come to Padua. Know you not the cause?

Your shipe are stayed at Venice, and the Duke,

For private quarrel twixt your duke and him,

Hath published and proclaimed it openly.

However, fortunately, the Pedant resembles the "father" of Tranio, one Vincentio, even though Biondello helpfully comments that the pedant actually resembles Vincentio "as much as an apple doth an oyster," and thus Tranio offers to "help" the Pedant by offering to take him in to his household and let him impersonate Vincentio to save his life.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial