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The Taming of the Shrew

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1 The Taming of the Shrew

2 I. Plot: Type: Farce ( ) Low Comedy ( ) Time: 16th Century Locale: Padua, Italy First presented: 1593

3 II. Principal Characters: Baptista: a wealthy Paduan Katharina ( ): his shrewish elder daughter Bianca: her pretty gentle younger sister Petruchio ( ): a man to tame the shrew Lucentio: son of a Pisan merchant Hortensio: Petruchios friend Gremio: an aging Paduan Vincentio: Lucentios father Tranio: Lucentios servant Christopher Sly: a drunken beggar

4 III. The Story: (Induction): Sly is drunk. He staggers out of an alehouse, pursued by the hostess. He then falls asleep on the road and is found by a nobleman and his hunting party. The nobleman determines to have some sport at his expense. He is transported to the noblemans house, convinced that he is a great person, treated like a lord, and made to watch a comedy.

5 III. The Story: : Lucentio and Tranio come to Padua to study virtue and enjoy life. They eavesdrop Hortensio and Gremio trying to woo Bianca. Baptista told the suitors that his elder daughter Katharina must be married first. Lucentio is smitten with Biancas sweetness and modesty. Hortensio decides that they must find a husband for the shrew first. He tells Petruchio about Katharina and her large dowry. Petruchio decides to woo her. Hortensio, disguised as a music teacher, comes along to woo Bianca. Meanwhile, two other suitors (Lucentio disguised as a schoolmaster and Tranio disguised as Lucentio) also come to woo Bianca.

6 III. The Story: : Petruchio, Lucentio, Gremio, Hortensio, and Tranio all have come to Baptistas house. Hortensio is called Licio, and Lucentio is called Cambio. Though not very successful in courting Katharina, Petruchio vows that he has won her hand, and so he leaves to prepare for the wedding. Gremio and Tranio bid for Biancas hand, and since Tranio/Lucentio can promise a richer dowry Baptista promises him Biancas hand. But he has to bring assurance of the dowry from his father Vincentio first.

7 III. The Story: :The rivals Cambio/Lucentio and Licio/Hortensio instruct Bianca. Lucentio reveals his true identity to the girl under cover of teaching her Latin. Hortensio also tries to reveal himself by explaining the gamut, and declares that he will give her up if she stoops to love so lowly a man as a schoolmaster. On Katharinas wedding day, Petruchio is slow in arriving. He even appears absurdly dressed with antic manners. After the ceremony, he carries the bride away at once without staying for the wedding dinner, disregarding her begging and storming.

8 III. The Story: : Grumio describes how the bride and groom are arriving. Katharinas horse fell on her in the mud, and Petruchio used the accident as a pretext to assault Grumio and made Katharina ever more muddied. He continues his role of unreasonable brute, finding fault with everything the servants do. He spurns the food prepared as unfit to eat and decrees that they go supperless to bed. He in fact plans to tame his wife in the same manner as falcons are trained: by starvation and lack of sleep. He even wants Katharina to wear poor clothing. Meanwhile, Hortensio decides to marry a wealthy widow, a traveling scholar is duped into acting as Vincentio, and Lucentio is told to marry Bianca soon.

9 III. The Story: : En route to Baptistas house, Petruchio completes his conquest of Katharina by bullying her into agreeing that the sun is the moon and the elderly Vincentio is a fair young girl. The spectacle of Katharinas submission convinces Hortensio that he can control his widow. The real Vincentio comes in time to bless his son. The three new couples (Petruchio & Katharina, Lucentio & Bianco, and Hortensio & the widow) banquet together. Petruchio wins the wager that Kate is the most obedient of the three women. Kate even expresses her new philosophy that women owe it to their husbands to behave like the softer sex.

10 IV. Famous Lines: Persuade him that he hath been lunatic, And when he says he is, say that he dreams, For he is nothing but a mighty lord. --Lord to hunters Never ask me what raiment Ill wear, for I have no more doublets than backs, no more stockings than legs, nor no more shoes than feetnay, sometime more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look through the overleather. --Sly to servants

11 IV. Famous Lines: No profit grows where is no pleasure taken. In brief, sir, study what you most affect. --Tranio to Lucentio Her only fault, and that is faults enough, Is that she is intolerable curst, And shrewd, and froward, so beyond all measure That, were my state far worse than it is, I would not wed her for a mine of gold. --Hortensio to Petruchio

12 IV. Famous Lines: When did she cross thee with a bitter word? --Baptista Her silence flouts me, and Ill be revenged. --Katharina She is your treasure, she must have a husband, I must dance barefoot on her wedding day, And, for your love to her, lead apes in hell. –Kate to Baptista I am as peremptory as she proud-minded; And where two raging fires meet together, They do consume the thing that feeds their fury. Though little fire grows great with little wind, Yet extreme gusts will blow out fire and all. --Petruchio to Baptista

13 IV. Famous Lines: Say that she rail, why then Ill tell her plain She sings as sweetly as a nightingale. Say that she frown, Ill say she looks as clear As morning roses newly washed with dew. Say she be mute and will not speak a word, Then Ill commend her volubility, And say she utters piercing eloquence. --Petruchio to Baptista

14 IV. Famous Lines:... you are called plain Kate, And bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst; But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom, Kate of Kate Hall, my super-dainty Kate, For dainties are all Kates, and therefore, Kate, Take this of me, Kate of my consolation. --Petruchio to Katharina Asses are made to bear, and so are you. --Kate Women are made to bear, and so are you. --Petruchio

15 IV. Famous Lines: My falcon now is sharp and passing empty, And till she stoop she must not be full-gorged, For then she never looks upon her lure. --Petruchio to himself She shall watch all night, And if she chance to nod Ill rail and brawl, And with the clamor keep her still awake. This is a way to kill a wife with kindness, And thus Ill curb her mad and headstrong humor. --Petruchio to himself

16 IV. Famous Lines: It shall be what oclock I say it is. --Petruchio to Kate Why, so this gallant will command the sun. --Hortensio Fie, fie! Unknit that threatening unkind brow, And dart not scornful glances from those eyes, To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor. It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads, Confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair buds, And in no sense is meet or amiable. --Kate to all

17 IV. Famous Lines: A woman moved is like a fountain troubled, Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty, And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it. --Kate to all Such duty as the subject owes the prince Even such a woman owes to her husband. --Kate to all I am ashamed that women are so simple To offer war where they should kneel for peace. --Kate to all

18 V. Discussion: –What farcical situations have you found in the play? –What is the function of the Induction? –Does the play suggest that even the impossible can be made possible ? –If you are a feminist, what will you think of the play? –Will Petruchios way be always the right way to tame a shrew?


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