Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
This is another play by Shakespeare, which is impossible to understand. The basis of this play is that it is a play WITHIN a play. That means that the story starts out with some people and then some of the characters perform a play for the other characters. So we’re watching the play the characters are performing in the story and also watching the plot that the characters are in. Understand? Good. The title deals with a woman. There’s this chick who is a real bitch (a shrew) and she needs to be tamed by some guy. This story takes place in a town called Padua.
Petruchio: He is a confident dude and macho. He just wants to marry some rich woman. He finds Katherine and does a good job of taming her.
Lucentio: He’s a rich young college student. He’s not that bright. He loves Bianca and thinks up a whole scheme to get her.
Katherine: She is the shrew. She’s a stubborn bitch, but a smart gal. She is Bianca’s ugly sister. In the end, Petruchio tames her and they hook up.
Bianca: Bianca is Katherine’s sister. She is really sweet and quite a hottie. She ends up marrying Lucentio.
Tranio: He is Lucentio’s servant. He is smarter than Lucentio is. He is very loyal and pretends to be Lucentio for awhile so Lucentio can get close to Bianca and win her over.
Hortensio: He is friends with Petruchio and introduces him to Katherine. At first Hortensio is trying to score with Bianca but finally ends up marrying some widow.
Baptista: He is Katherine and Bianca’s dad. He wants Katherine married before anyone hits on Bianca. He even offers $$ to anyone who will marry Katherine the shrew.
The story starts out with this drunk dude named Christopher Sly. He is a repairman. One night he gets wasted and gets thrown out of a bar. A rich guy finds him passed out on the street, and wants to play a joke on him. So the rich dude and his pals take the drunk guy home and dress him up in fancy clothes and give him fancy foods. They plan on telling him that he’s a rich Lord (word for a rich dude) who has had amnesia. The rich guy even makes one of his servants pretend to be the drunk guy’s wife.
Then Sly the drunk wakes up. He doesn’t believe that he’s a lord with amnesia but after the rich dude convinces him some more, Sly finally starts to think he really is a lord. Then the rich guy brings in some actors to put on a play for Sly. They decide to perform this play called "Taming of the Shrew" (See, the play within a play).
The Taming of the Shrew is a play about two couples. It starts out with this guy Lucentio who has come to study at the University of Padua with his servant Tranio. He and his servant are chatting one day and they see this young guy (Hortensio) and old guy (Gremio) arguing over a girl. They are arguing with the girls’s father. The girl is this young babe named Bianca. Her father is named Baptista Minola. He won’t let any guys hit on his daughter until his oldest daughter Katherine (bigtime bitch) gets married. Lucentio then falls head over heels in love with Bianca. To get to her (since no guys are allowed to see her), he disguises himself as a tutor and calls himself Cambio. Hortensio and Gremio agree to try and find some guy that will put up with Katherine. Then Lucentio’s servant (Tranio) pretends to be Lucentio to make the plan work (he will pretend to be Lucentio and pretend to hit on Bianca while Lucentio (Cambio) is tutoring her and getting close to her)
Then some dude named Petruchio comes to town looking for a really rich chick to marry. He is friends with Hortensio, and Hortensio plans to hook Petruchio up with Katherine (so then Hortensio can hit on Bianca). Hortensio tells him what a bitch Katherine is but Petruchio doesn’t care because he just wants $$ and he says he doesn’t take shit from any woman. Hortensio and Gremio say they’ll pay for his dates with Katherine (because when they get married Baptista Minola will let those guys hit on his daughter Bianca). Then Hortensio pretends to be a tutor so he can get close to Bianca (like Lucentio is doing).
Then Petruchio goes to Baptista’s house to see Katherine. Lucentio and Hortensio tell Baptista that they are tutors and they wanna teach his daughter. Then Baptista talks with Petruchio about how much he’s gonna pay him to marry his daughter Katherine. Petruchio and Katherine meet. They fight. Petruchio tries to charm her but she’s a stubborn bitch. Then he goes back and tells Baptista that the wedding is all set and she will marry him (that’s a lie). With this news, the floor is open for the guys to hit on Bianca. They all offer $$ for her, and Tranio (disguised as Lucentio) offers his (Lucentio’s) dad’s fortune. Baptista tells Tranio (Lucentio) that his dad must tell him in person that he agrees to pay the $$. So now they have to find some dude to pretend to be Lucentio’s dad.
Then Petruchio and Katherine’s wedding day comes. Petruchio acts like an obnoxious jerk (in his plan to "tame" Katherine). He is rude throughout the wedding and goes home early. Then he refuses to let her eat until she acts nice. Meanwhile Tranio makes a deal with Hortensio that Bianca should marry Cambio (real Lucentio) because those crazy kids are in love.
Then Tranio finds some scholar guy to pretend to be Lucentio’s dad. This scholar (named Pedant) tells Baptista he agrees to the marriage. So Tranio is set to marry Bianca (Even though he has no intentions to, since he’s just doing a favor for his master Lucentio). Then Cambio (Lucentio) makes a deal with Bianca to elope together.
Petruchio is still taming Katherine. He tells her to obey him and stuff. Then they have that famous conversation where he says the sun is the moon and he tries to get her to agree. Finally she does and she is tamed. They travel and meet Lucentio’s REAL dad who is coming to town. Then the REAL Vincentio meets the fake one and they argue. Then Lucentio comes in with his new bride Bianca and tells his dad about the whole plan.
The end of the story is just a big wedding ceremony. All the guys have wives. Petruchio has Katherine, Lucentio has Bianca, and Hortensio married some widow. They make a bet to see whose wife would come first if they all asked them too. Katherine was the only one who came when called. Then she lectures the other 2 chicks about obeying their husbands blah blah blah.
ACT BY ACT/SCENE BY SCENE
INDUCTION (Like a preface)
- This repairman named Christopher Sly is in a bar and he’s drunk off his ass.
- He passes out in the bar. Then some Lord (rich guy) comes in and sees him sleeping
- The Lord and his buddies decide to play a joke on Sly.
- They plan to dress him up in fancy clothing and tell him he is a lord who had amnesia.
- Then the Lord meets some actors at the bar and brings them home with him.
- The lord goes home and tells one of his female servants to pretend to be Sly’s wife (to carry out the prank)
- Scene 2
- Sly wakes up. He tells the lord who he is.
- But the lord continues to try to get Sly to think he’s a lord.
- Sly finally believes them and starts to act like a rich snobby guy.
- He tries to have sex with his wife (the servant) but he is stopped.
- Then the lord puts on a play for Sly, with the actors from the bar.
- They perform "Taming of the Shrew". This is where the story begins:
- Lucentio and his servant Tranio come to Padua. Lucentio is going to college there to study philosophy.
- Lucentio are Tranio see Baptista, Gremio, and Hortensio (two guys trying to marry Bianca)
- Baptista tells the guys that nobody can try to marry Bianca until her older sister Katherine is married.
- Katherine talks and we see why she’s such a bitch.
- Then Baptista tells Hortensio and Gremio that Bianca needs some tutors.
- Then Hortensio and Gremio talk and say that they have to find a husband for Katherine so they can try to marry Bianca.
- Lucentio sees Bianca and falls in love with her. Then he comes up with a plan to disguise himself as a tutor named Cambio (the only way to get close to Bianca)
- Tranio agrees to pretend to be Lucentio in his master’s place.
- Lucentio has some other servant named Biondello.
- He tells Biondello that he is trading places with Tranio because he killed a man and needs to hide (not true)
- This dude named Petruchio and his servant Grumio come to town.
- Petruchio goes to see his old friend Hortensio.
- Petruchio tells him that he is in town to fond a rich woman to marry.
- Hortensio tells him about Katherine and her rich daddy
- They go to Baptista’s house. Hortensio disguises himself as a tutor to try and get close to Bianca.
- Then Lucentio (disguised as Cambio and Tranio (disguised as Lucentio) show up.
- Petruchio meets Baptista and tells him that even though Katherine is a bitch, he will tame her because he doesn’t take shit from any woman.
- Gremio and Hortensio (the 2 guys who want Bianca) tell Petruchio they’ll pay for his dates, because if they get married then Gremio and Hortensio can openly hit on Bianca.
- Then Tranio meets the bunch and introduces himself as Lucentio.
- They all talk about how they hope Petruchio and Katherine hook up.
- Katherine is at home with Bianca. She is jealous because so many guys want Bianca.
- So she yells at her and hits her. Baptista comes in and stops her.
- Then Petruchio comes in with Lucentio, Hortensio and Gremio.
- Petruchio tells Baptista that he wants his daughter. Then Gremio introduces Lucentio as Cambio a tutor.
- Gremio hopes that "Cambio" will say good things about him to Bianca. In reality, Cambio (Lucentio) is gonna hit on Bianca himself
- Then Petruchio introduces Hortensio as a tutor named Litio.
- Baptista and Petruchio talk about how much $$ he’s gonna give Petruchio to marry Katherine.
- Baptista tells Petruchio what a bitch Katherine is and how he’ll have a tough time taming her.
- Then Petruchio gives some long speech to the audience (remember, it’s a play) about how he’s gonna control her by using reverse psychology.
- Katherine and Petruchio meet and Katherine acts like a bitch. Petruchio acts nice to her
- After they are done exchanging words, Petruchio lies and tells Baptista that Katherine really likes him (even though she acted like a bitch to him) and they will get married in a week.
- Baptista is happy but still thinks the marriage won’t happen because Katherine is an evil chick.
- We see here how shallow Baptista is. He is paying someone to marry his bitch daughter Katherine, but on the other hand he’s accepting bids for who wants to marry his pretty daughter Bianca. What a bad father.
- Baptista accepts bids for his daughter Bianca. Tranio (pretending to be Lucentio) offers the most $$.
- Baptista tells him that his father must be present to give consent to the wedding.
- Tranio gives some long speech to the audience (remember this is a play) on how he’s gonna have to find someone to pretend to be Vincentio (Lucentio’s dad).
- The two disguised tutors fight over who gets to teach Bianca.
- She takes charge and chooses Cambio (Lucentio).
- Litio (Hortensio) starts to fall OUT of love with Bianca. (One of those "she doesn’t like me?…well, I never liked her anyway"...a cop out)
- This scene starts out with Katherine/Petruchio’s wedding.
- He is late and everyone wonders where he is.
- Then he shows up. He is dressed like a homeless man and everyone wonders why he looks like a slob
- Then Tranio tells Lucentio that they have to find someone to act like his dad.
- Gremio leaves the wedding and tells Tranio and Lucentio about the wedding.
- Apparently Petruchio acted like an ass throughout the entire ceremony.
- Then Petruchio returns with his new bride Katherine. He tells everyone that they aren’t staying for the wedding reception and are leaving.
- Katherine argues with him but he tells her that she has to do what he says because he now owns her.
- The people eat anyway.
- Grumio (Petruchio’s servant) goes to Petruchio’s house and tells the other servants about what a jerk he is being to Katherine.
- She fell off her horse while they were traveling and he didn’t help her.
- Instead he blamed the servants for letting it happen
- (All part of plan to be nice to her in a weird way...like she’s a goddess and nothing is ever good enough for her. Then she will break down and be nice)
- Then Petruchio comes home and yells at his servants because nothing is good enough for his bride.
- She finally says something nice and tries to comfort him
- Then Petruchio gives a speech to the audience about how he’s taming her like he’d tame a hawk.
- He then talks about his strategy. He will tell everyone that nothing is good enough for her and won’t giver her anything because in his mind it is crap.
- It seems to be a nice gesture, but in reality he is an ass because she has not eaten, showered or anything
- Biondello tells Tranio that he found some guy to pretend he is Lucentio’s dad.
- The guy who will do it is a scholar named Pedant, a newcomer.
- Tranio makes up some bullshit story to convince Pedant why he has to do this.
- Back at Petruchio’s house, Katherine is hungry and asks Grumio for some food.
- He doesn’t give her any and she yells at him
- Then Petruchio comes in with Hortensio. He gives Katherine a meal but then takes it away from her. (what torture)
- Then he dresses up in some fancy clothes to go to Baptista’s house. He doesn’t let Katherine wear anything nice though. He ignores anything she says to him
- He announces that they are getting ready to leave for Baptista’s house. Katherine tells him that it is too late (which it is) but Petruchio tells her it is early.
- See the game he’s playing? He wants her to agree with him on a statement that is obviously false...then she will succumb to him.
- Tranio (disguised as Lucentio) comes to Baptista’s house with Pedant (disguised as Vincentio..Lucentio’s dad)
- Vincentio gives Baptista his consent for the wedding.
- Baptista tells Cambio (Lucentio) to tell Bianca that she’s gonna marry Lucentio (Tranio in disguise).
- Then Biondello almost blows Lucentio’s cover...man all this disguise stuff is confusing.
- Meanwhile Petruchio and Katherine are traveling to Baptista’s house.
- Then they get in an argument. Even though the moon is shining, Petruchio tells her it is the sun.
- He wants her to agree with him, even though it is preposterous
- She disagrees and Petruchio tells everyone that they are going home.
- Then she breaks down and tells him it is the sun.
- Hooray! The shrew has been tamed.
- They see an old man in the road. Petruchio tells her to greet him like he’s a girl (to see if she will follow orders)
- She does. The old man doesn’t know what’s up with these crazy kids.
- The old man turns out to be Vincentio. He walks with them to Padua and Baptista’s house.
- They get to Baptista’s house. The real Vincentio knocks on the door and is greeted by Pedant (fake Vincentio).
- Then they argue about who is the real Vincentio.
- Then the real Vincentio sees Tranio (who he recognizes) dressed up like Lucentio and he yells at him because a servant shouldn’t be wearing his master’s clothes.
- Tranio tries to get Vincentio arrested so he won’t ruin the whole plan.
- Then Lucentio and Bianca get back. Lucentio explains to everyone what the hell is going on.
- Then he asks his dad to forgive him
- Baptista the moron still doesn’t understand so Lucentio tells him again.
- Baptista allows his marriage to Bianca since he’s still getting Vincentio’s money.
- This last scene starts in Lucentio’s house.
- Everyone is friends again and the plan has dissolved.
- Hortensio, Petruchio and Lucentio are there with their wives.
- Hortensio married some widow, Petruchio married Katherine and Lucentio married Bianca.
- The guys sit around talking about their wives.
- Petruchio makes a bet with them. If they call their wives, whose wife will come first?
- They call their wives and only Katherine comes.
- Then Katherine gives some long speech about how wives should obey their husbands
THINGS TO MAKE YOU LOOK SMART
- This play is a comedy.
- The dynamics of Baptista’s family are weird. He favors Bianca because she is pretty. He ignores Katherine.
- He even offers to pay someone to marry Katherine. What a slap in the face. Maybe this is why she’s a bitch all the time
- Petruchio uses a weird strategy to tame Katherine. He acts nice to her. But his definition of acting nice is wanting only the best for his bride.
- So he takes away all food and clothing from her because it is not good enough for her. She doesn’t care because she’s tired and hungry. This is sort of a indirect way of torture
- In the beginning Bianca starts out as the prize and Katherine as a bitch. But in the end, when she is tamed, Katherine is the prize and Bianca is in the background
- Petruchio is a deep dude. He appears to be an insensitive guy, but underneath he is a nice man with alot of patience (he took on the challenge of taming Katherine)
- Lucentio is kind of selfish in the play. He makes up all of these plans not caring who it hurts.
- The play examines marriage in old England, and also looks at social behavior.
- The main theme in the book is man vs woman. Petruchio and Katherine butt heads. There is also alot of animal imagery in the book (and the title).
- Katherine is an animal and Petruchio tamed her with animal instincts.