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The Taming of the Shrew
Type of work
Time and place written
Around 1592, London
Date of first publication
The overall tone of the play is light and comic, though
the exploration of larger social questions, such as the proper relation of
the sexes in marriage, lends much of the comedy a more serious tone.
Unspecific, though presumably sometime during the
Padua, a city-state in Italy prominent during the Renaissance
There is no single protagonist; Katherine and Petruchio
are the main characters.
Petruchio’s attempt to “tame” Katherine; that is, to
assert his authority in their marriage and overcome her hotheaded resistance
to playing the role of his wife
Petruchio and Katherine’s early verbal conflicts; Katherine’s many
scenes of shrewish behavior, including her attack on Bianca; the
various disguises and subterfuges of the subplot; Katherine and
Petruchio’s comical wedding
There is no single moment of intense action in the
play, but rather a long process of development culminating in Katherine’s
fully changed behavior. It might be possible to see a climax in
the wedding scene in Act III, or in Katherine’s decision in Act
IV to submit to Petruchio when he says the sun is really the moon,
or her agreement to throw shame to the winds and kiss him in the middle
of the street in Act IV.
The banquet at Lucentio’s house in Act V, scene ii
Marriage as an economic institution; the effect of
social roles on individual happiness
Disguise; domestication; fathers and their children
Petruchio’s wedding costume; the haberdasher’s cap
and tailor’s gown
Petruchio’s declaration to Katherine in Act II that
he is the man to tame her
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Taming of the Shrew!