The Taming of the Shrew William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

The Taming of the


William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Type of Work:

Dramatic, farcical comedy


Warwickshire, England and Padua, Italy;
sixteenth century

Principal Characters

Christopher Sly-an indolent, fat tinker

Baptisa Minola-a rich Italian gentlemen

Bianca-his refined, youngest daughter

Katherine-his sharp-tongued, eldest daughter

Gremio-Bianca\'s rich and elderly suitor

Hortensio-Bianca\'s other suitor

Petruchio-Hortensio\'s friend

Lucentio-a rich and colorful gentlemen

Tranio-Lucentio\'s servant

Story Overveiw

The hostess of the inn bellowed at the
drunken tinker, berating him for the glasses he had burst and threatening
to call the constable. "Let him come", mumbled Christopher Sly as he slid
under a stool and began to snore. The hostess shook her fist and ran out.

At that moment, in strode a gallently plumed lord with his servants.

The lord was a mischievous sort, and he,
deciding that it would be an excellant joke to change this swinish drunkard
slumpled at his feet into a lord, ordered his servants to drag the man
to his mansion, wash him, dress him in fine apparel, and lay him in the
richest chamber. The company set off to do the lord\'s bidding.

Chirtopher Sly awoke. He blinked in the
light of the magnificent room in which he found himself. He was sitting
on a mountain of cushions;servants bowed to him in honor. Think this all
must be the work of strong drink-as was often the case-he cried for more
ale. When he was served all matter of food and drink, he objected, complaining
that he was a simple tinker unaccustomed to such fare. As their lord had
intructed them, the servants informed him that Chirstopher Sly did not
exist; that he was indeed a lord who had awakened from a bad dream.

Next, accompanied by a sultry music, in
danced the new lord\'s pageboy (wife), with bosoms as large as a pair of
oranges. Straightway, the tinker-lord wanted to carry her off to bed; but
the servants insisted he must gaurd his strength, for he had been ill many
weeks. So the ardent husband was forced to sit modestly by his bride and
watch a play.

As he watched, he became tranfixed by the
dream-like drama that unfolded before his eyes:

In Padua, an old Italian town, lived rich
old Baptista Minola and his two daughters. The youger girl, Bianca, was
an angel from heaven;the elder, Katherine, was a scourge from the "other
place", with a mustard-hot temper and a sizzling tongue to match. Katherine
had no suitors, while Bianca had two, which posed a problem for their father.

Baptista would not allow the younger Bianca to marry unless someone took

Katherine off his hands first-but surely it would "snow in hell" before
any man married such a shrew!.

Baptista pled with Bianca\'s two suitors,
elderly money-bag, Gremio and the younger Hortensio, to consider, instead,
his eldest daughter. They vigorously shook their heads. The resigned father
the charged them to fin a tutor for his cherished young Bianca and hurried
into the house, leaving the hapless pair to the mercies of Kathrine. They
soon conceded that if either wished to woo gentle Bianca, they must find
a husband for her scolding sister.

Two strangers from pisa had witnessed this
family scene. One, Lucentio, had fallen in love with Bianca at first glimpse,
and he caught upon the idea of becoming her tutor. When his servant Tranio
remined him that he had business errands in Padua for his father, Lucentio
convinced Tranio to trade places with him. He would be two places at once-on
business in the name of Lucentio, and as lover-tutor in the name of Tranio.

The two exchanged clothes, and Lucentio stood transformed into a humble
schoolteacher, while Tranio, in his master\'s wonderful raiment, became
a wealthy merchant.

Meanwhile, Hortensio, still pondering possible
ploys to marry off Katherine, encountered an old friend from Verona, Petruchio,
who expressed a desire "to wive it wealthily in Padua." Hortensio impulsively
alluded to Katherine, but then squelched the idea; he could not wish such
a women on his friend. But amazingly, the thought of a spirited heiress
was to Petruchio\'s liking, and Hortensio at last agreed to help him meet

Katherine. In return, he asked Petruchio to recommend a schoolmaster for

Bianca-who would, of course, be Hortensio himself, in disguise.

Then came Gremio, with a schoolmaster of
his own to present to baptista-the starry eyed Luccentio. Behind them sauntered
colorful Tranio, also on his devious way to woo Bianca-in his master\'s

As the beaus lined up to vie for Bianca\'s
love, each agreed to pay an allotted amount to Petruchio for removing the
impediment-Katherine- that blocked their contest for lovely Bianca. Petruchio,
money in his pocket, beamed with joy.

Baptista had just reprimanded Katherine
for her abusive manners, when visitors arrived. he was pleased