What further comic complication does Shakespeare suggest at the end of Act III in Taming of the Shrew?

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Noelle Matteson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main event at the end of Act III is the marriage between Petruchio and Katharine. Petruchio makes the wedding day as humiliating as possible. First, he turns up late, making his bride and her father wonder if he will come at all. Katharine is so upset at the embarrassment that she weeps. Then Petruchio arrives in a ridiculous getup riding on his servant, who is dressed as a horse. Everyone stands aghast:

Gentles, methinks you frown:
And wherefore gaze this goodly company,
As if they saw some wondrous monument,
Some comet or unusual prodigy?

Gremio reports events of the actual wedding. Petruchio swore in church, startling the priest into dropping his book, and then struck the priest as he bent over to pick it up. He continued to misbehave, kissing Kate so loudly “That at the parting all the church did echo.” Petruchio then insists on leaving immediately after the wedding service. He takes Kate by force, pretending that he does it to protect her.

Humor comes at Kate’s expense from Petruchio’s completely inappropriate behavior at the wedding. What will follow is the tumultuous (and possibly comedic) marriage between the fiery Kate and the wild Petruchio. Also suggested is Lucentio’s elopement with Bianca.

Read the study guide:
The Taming of the Shrew

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