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The Taming of the Shrew

By William Shakespeare (8)

The broad humor and keen wit of The Taming of the Shrew has made the play one of the most popular of Shakespeare’s comedies. The adventurous Petruchio is persuaded to woo shrewish Katherina Minola by her sister Bianca’s enamored suitors, as gentle Bianca will not be permitted to marry until Kate is wed. Petruchio is intrigued by the fiery elder sister and succeeds in marrying her, but immediately begins to “tame” his bride by being as contrary as Kate. On the pretense that nothing is good enough for his wife, he withholds her dinner, destroys her bridal trousseau, and keeps her from sleep. Exhausted, bewildered, and finally acquiescent, Kate becomes conciliatory. In a final bit of humor, Shakespeare ends with a final contest in which Bianca’s new husband, Lucentio, and Kate’s Petruchio wager to see whose wife is the more obedient. Petruchio easily wins, and Kate delivers a speech about the importance of wifely submission. High school readers will have to decide whether Shakespeare's excellent depiction of gender politics is straightforward or ironic.

Study Guide: The Taming of the Shrew (Illustrated Classics for Reluctant Readers) (eBook) cover

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Multiple Critical Perspectives: The Taming of the Shrew (eBook) cover

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Response Journal: The Tamin...Prestwick HousePWH20147433 Pages, Grades 7 - 12

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