The Taming of the Shrew Summary

The play “The taming of the Shrew” is one of the most famous comedies by William Shakespeare. The play is truly significant since it portrays a lot about the society back then, the roles of women back then and the battle of the sexes for power amidst the hassles of daily life. It also portrays how to treat a woman to teach her etiquettes.

An alehouse is filled with the screams and arguments of a drunk beggar by the name of Christopher Sly and the hostess of the alehouse for breaking a glassware. Enraged, she rushes out to inform the local law authorities. Meanwhile, he sneaks out and faints in the woods. A lord finds him and plans to jest with him by treating him like a lord. The lord then invites a group of actors to act in front of the new lord and not to laugh at his behaviors. Then he tells Bartholomew, his pageboy to dress up as Sly’s wife and to tell him that his insanity had come to an end after seven years of the trance of being a beggar. Then the lord and the actors all dress up as his servants and try to convince him that he had returned from his illness and then the actors put up a play.

The play begins with Luciento coming to Padua in hopes of extending his field of knowledge in the famous university there with his manservant, Tranio. Tranio reminds him that the good things in life should be given up in pursuit of academic success. Suddenly a crowd arrives and distracts them from the talks. The crowd consists of Baptista Minola, his two daughters, Katherina, the angry lady and Bianca, the calm one. They are also followed by Bianca’s suitors, Hortensio and Gremio. Baptista forbids marrying Bianca off before Katherina but nobody wants to because of her nature. Baptista also looks for a tutor for Bianca. Lucentio falls for Bianca as well and thus tries to make her fall in love by disguising as a teacher while Tranio acts to be Lucentio. Meanwhile, another manservant of his, Biondello arrives and agrees to help.

Petruchio, a young man who newly has arrived in Padua along with his manservant Grumio comes to visit Hortensio in hopes of marrying the daughter of a rich man. His father has died and now he needs to find a wife to keep the wealth of his father within his generation. Hortensio suggests him marrying Katherine, the shrew along with the warning of his behavior. Meanwhile, Lucentio plots on tutoring Bianca to infatuate her. Next, Lucentio and Gremio are seen entering Baptista’s house where Hortensio and Petruchio are present too. There, Lucentio is disguised as a tutor chosen by Gremio. Hortensio gives Gremio the good news that Petruchio is a suitor for Katherina. Tranio enters the scene disguised as Lucentio with Biondello as his manservant. He wishes to meet Baptista and the two suitors are alarmed by competition which is cooled down by a drink.

The opening scene of the second act begins with Katherina chasing Bianca around since she disagrees to disclose which suitor she prefers. Soon, Baptista interrupts to save Bianca and this enrages Katherina more and both the sisters leave the scene. The three suitors enter the scene to meet Baptista. Gremio and Petruchio enter the scene with Lucentio and Hortensio disguised as tutors while Tranio enters dressed as Lucentio with Biondello as servant. The three men present their gifts to meet Katherine and Bianca. The two tutors are set to teach Katherine and Bianca. Katherina cuts Hortensio’s head with a strike with the flute. Petruchio then tries to tempt her when she arrives. They both engage in a verbal duel with puns and metaphors and she is even annoyed and hits Petruchio. Soon, Petruchio declares his wedding with Katherine and the other suitors decide the wealthiest will marry Bianca.

While the preparations are being made to marry off Katherine with Petruchio, Bianca is seen sitting with the two tutors and they try their best to make a better impression. Soon, Bianca has decided her favorite and Lucentio’s Latin classes is her choice. Meanwhile, Lucentio tries to convey his true wishes with her through a Latin paragraph and she replies accordingly while Hortensio stays outside the audibility range. Even when, Hortensio tries to interrupt, she sends Hortensio off to tune his instrument. When Hortensio’s turn comes, he begs and pleads her to accept his marriage proposal to which she replies uncomfortably. Soon, their talk is interrupted by a servant who informs Bianca to get ready for her sister’s wedding. The picture becomes pretty clear to him that Lucentio is a favorite of Bianca and if he fails to marry Bianca, he will find another wife.

As Sunday arrives Baptista and the whole crowd gathers to witness the impossible happening. Katherine is all ready to get married, dressed up as a pretty bride. Time passes by and the groom still has not arrived. Katherine gets disheartened at this and takes Petruchio to be a womanizer and runs off crying. Meanwhile, Biondello reports that Petruchio is coming dressed up in a poor attire with a diseased horse alongside Grumio in the same attire. Baptista begs him to change into better attires but he disagrees and goes off to find Katherine. Soon after, Luciento is seen updating plans to elope with Bianca while Petruchio creates a ruckus one after another, swearing, throwing food and not even letting Katherine have her food. Gremio narrates the incidents while Baptista moves on to marrying Bianca to Lucentio.

Petruchio takes Kate along with him to their country home. There, Grumio is seen present beforehand to welcome his master and his newly wedded wife. Kate falls in the mud and Petruchio is enraged at this and tells all his servants to get ready and properly dressed to greet the new madam of the house. Even at the dinner table, Petruchio throws the food away with tantrums of it not being cooked properly. Kate begs him to stop and eat something. Then they go to bed where he keeps whining about how bad the bed has been made. In Padua, Hortensio informs of real Lucentio winning Bianca’s heart to the fake Lucentio. Tranio informs Bianca and Lucentio of Hortensio’s plans to get taming lessons from Petruchio. They finally find a man to make Lucentio’s father.

Katherine is still being made to go through a rough patch of incidents, just to tame her vicious and offensive behavior. She has had no food and tries to persuade Grumio to give her some food but he disagrees to do so and tells her that all this is being done for her best interests. Petruchio brings in a tailor and starts finding faults in all her choices in clothes. The tailor is scolded and later informed that all this has been done in jest. They soon prepare for Baptista’s after much hassle. Meanwhile, at Baptista’s, the old man is dressed up as Vicentio, Lucentio’s father and gives consent in their marriage. Then they start talking about the financial expenses of the marriage. Lucentio then plans with Biondello to elope and marry Bianca hastily.

Petruchio takes Kate and Hortensio back to Padua and on the way, he remarks that the moon is shining brightly while Kate opines that it is the sun. Kate agrees later, all tired and exhausted. Soon, he sees another old man and tells Kate to hug him claiming him to be a young maid. Kate agrees accordingly. The old man turns out to be the real Vincentio traveling to visit his son in Padua. They soon arrive in Padua and Tranio sees Vincentio and pretends to not recognize him while Bianca and Lucentio are getting married. Vincentio is almost put in jail when Lucentio comes and clears the confusion. Petruchio and Kate are eager to see what happens next. Just before that, he demands a kiss from Kate in public. She disagrees initially but agrees eventually.

In the end of the play, Lucentio arranges a banquet for celebrating his, Hortensio and Petruchio’s marriage. They jest and Kate soon engages in an argument with Hortensio’s widow. The situation soon cools down. The men pay condolences to Petruchio for marrying a shrew. He challenges them that she is more obedient than the other two wives. They place their bets and Kate turns out to be extremely obedient. Kate calls them, throws off her hat and gives them a speech on obedience at Petruchio’s wish. She scolds them for not being obedient to their husbands who work so hard for their wives’ happiness while everyone is amazed. Petruchio is happy at this and goes to bed with Kate happily while they reflect on their changes of fate.