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The Taming of the Shrew


The Taming of the Shrew (No Fear Shakespeare)


"The Taming of the Shrew" is a comedy by William Shakespeare, thought to have been written between 1590 and 1592. The play describes the courtship of Petruchio, a gentleman of Verona, and Katherina, the headstrong, obdurate shrew. Initially, Katherina is an unwilling participant in the relationship, but Petruchio tempers her with various psychological torments—the "taming"—until she becomes a compliant and obedient bride.

Plot Summary

The main plot revolves around the courtship and transformation of Katherina, the eldest daughter of Baptista Minola, who is known for her sharp tongue and fiery temper. Baptista has declared that no one may court his younger daughter, Bianca, until Katherina is wed. This decree sets off a flurry of suitors for Bianca and leads to Petruchio's bold attempt to tame Katherina.

A subplot involves Bianca's suitors disguising themselves as tutors to get close to her, adding layers of mistaken identities and comic relief.

Characters and Relationships

  • Katherina (Kate): The "shrew" of the play, known for her strong will and sharp tongue. Her transformation is central to the play's themes.
  • Petruchio: A gentleman from Verona who marries Katherina with the intention of taming her.
  • Bianca: Katherina's younger sister, desired by several suitors for her beauty and mild demeanor.
  • Baptista Minola: The father of Katherina and Bianca, whose decree sets the plot in motion.
  • Lucentio, Gremio, and Hortensio: Bianca’s suitors, who employ various schemes to win her love.

Themes and Motifs

  • Marriage as an Economic Transaction: The play explores the notion of marriage not just as a romantic union but as a financial and social agreement.
  • Gender Roles and Power Dynamics: The transformation of Katherina from a strong-willed woman to a compliant wife raises questions about gender roles and the balance of power in relationships.
  • Appearance vs. Reality: Disguises and mistaken identities drive the subplot, highlighting the theme that things are not always what they seem.

Shakespeare's Language vs. Modern Translation

The No Fear Shakespeare edition offers a side-by-side comparison of Shakespeare's original text with a modern translation, making it accessible to contemporary readers. This approach reveals the enduring wit, humor, and insight of Shakespeare's work while demystifying its archaic language.


The modern translation provided by No Fear Shakespeare illuminates the complexities of Shakespeare's characters and themes, making "The Taming of the Shrew" more approachable for modern audiences. While the play's treatment of gender politics and marriage may provoke debate, its clever dialogue, robust characters, and intricate plot mechanics remain a testament to Shakespeare's genius.