Why is Act 4, scene 5 important in The Taming of the Shrew?

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Noelle Matteson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is the scene where Katharina finally gives into Petruchio. Since he heard of her, he planned to marry her for her money and in the process “tame” her. He refuses to give up, humiliating her at her wedding and manhandling her, all in the name of love. Petruchio even interrupts her sleep and refuses to let her eat. He also treats his servants abominably, prompting even her to come to their defense.

On the road, Petruchio asserts, “how bright and goodly shines the moon!” Katharina points out that it is the sun that shines in the middle of the day. He insists that she agree with him: “It shall be moon, or star, or what I list.” He threatens to return home, and for the first time, she relents: “What you will have it named, even that it is; / And so it shall be so for Katharina.”

Petruchio then plays a game, getting Katharina to greet an old man as “Young budding virgin, fair and fresh and sweet.” The moment can be interpreted as a joke that both Petruchio and Katharina enjoy or as a humiliation of Katharina by her controlling husband.

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The Taming of the Shrew

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