Petruchio continues to prove himself an avaricious and untrustworthy suitor to Katharina. Lucentio and Hortensio have eyes on each other while trying to woo Bianca, and Tranio is continuing his masquerade as the heir to the greatest fortune the world has ever known. This act was pretty wild an ended things on a rather uncertain note, with Petruchio and Katharina MIA and possible trouble brewing around Bianca.
Act Three starts with Lucentio and Hortensio fighting over who gets to tutor Bianca. In an unexpectedly assertive move, Bianca says she gets to decide because this is her time, not theirs. Lucentio is first up with a Latin lesson, and surreptitiously admits who he is and what his intentions are with her. She says hold your horses, I’m not rushing into anything with some strange guy pretending to be a teacher. Hortensio gets his chance at a music lesson, and he also surreptitiously admits his identity and plan of action, to which she says ew, I don’t think so. The guys each think the other is to blame for his lack of success, and determine to catch the other out in some tricky business, not realizing Bianca seems to have her own ideas about things.
The appointed day of the wedding arrives and Petruchio is late. Katharina, though she was forced into this wedding, weeps at the shame and embarrassment of the whole thing. Eventually Petruchio does show up, but he is dressed like a hobo. Baptista tells him he will need to borrow some nice clothes to marry Katharina, but Petruchio can’t be bothered and drags his betrothed off to church. While they are off getting married, Tranio updates Lucentio on his raft of lies and that he needs to hire someone to play the part of Lucentio’s father, Vincentio. Lucentio says that’s all fine, he has bigger fish to fry, namely in the form of that meddling Hortensio. Just then, Gremio comes back from the wedding, relating the whole shitshow to Tranio. Petruchio was on his worst behavior, using insulting language during his vows, and when the scandalized priest dropped his bible, Petruchio smacked him for it, threatening anyone else in the room with the same if they didn’t keep this train a-runnin’. Petruchio and the whole happy family then arrive on the scene and P tells Baptista that he’s not sticking around for the wedding feast, he’s got more important things to do. He then takes Katharina away with him by force of arms, leaving a bewildered and amused cast of characters behind them. Thus ends Act Three of The Taming of the Shrew.
I enjoyed this act very much. We’re getting some hints that Bianca is very much an individual and not just the shrinking violet her father and perhaps the rest of the world thinks she is. She has lived in her sister’s aggressive shadow her whole life and is now coming into her own with her Katharina finally out of the picture. I also liked how the wedding took place offstage, giving the whole thing a more comical air through Gremio’s description of events. All in all this was a great turn in the story. However, we have seen nothing of the prank victim who is ostensibly the audience for this little play, at least not since the first act. Perhaps we will see him in Act Four. Until next time!