The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew
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Annotation: Shakespeare readers will further be able to understand and appreciate the text of this play with the help of explanatory footnotes on the language and expressions used and a history of Shakespearean theater and writing.
Catalog Number: #292625
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
Teaching Materials: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Teaching Materials
Copyright Date: 1988
Edition Date: 1988
Pages: xxxv, 134 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-553-21306-7 Perma-Bound: 0-8000-5991-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-553-21306-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8000-5991-0
Dewey: 822.3
LCCN: 87023195
Dimensions: 18 cm.
Language: English
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 4,480
Reading Level: 4.2
Interest Level: 9+
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.2 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 140099 / grade: Middle Grades

[Dramatis Personae

Christopher sly, a tinker and beggar,

hostess of an alehouse,

a lord,  Persons in the

a page, servants, huntsmen, Induction


Baptista, a rich gentleman of Padua

Katharina, the shrew, also called Katharine and Kate, Baptista's elder daughter

Bianca, Baptista's younger daughter

Petruchio, a gentleman of Verona, suitor to Katharina

Grumio, Petruchio's servant

Curtis, nathaniel, Philip, Joseph, Nicholas,

peter, and other servants of Petruchio

gremio, elderly suitor to Bianca

Hortensio, suitor to Bianca

Lucentio, son of Vincentio, in love with Bianca

Tranio, Lucentio's servant

Biondello, Lucentio's servant

Vincentio, a gentleman of Pisa

a pedant (or Merchant) of Mantua

a widow, courted by Hortensio

a tailor

a haberdasher

an officer

Other Servants of Baptista and Lucentio

scene: Padua, and Petruchio's country house in Italy;

the Induction is located in the countryside and

at a Lord's house in England]

Induction.1 Location: Before an alehouse and, subsequently, before the Lord's house nearby. (See lines 75, 135.)

1 feeze you i.e., fix you, get even with you

2 A . . . stocks i.e., I'll have you put in the stocks

3 baggage contemptible woman or prostitute.

4 Richard (Sly's mistake for "William.")

5 Paucas Pallabris i.e., pocas palabras, "few words." (Spanish.)  Sessa (Of doubtful meaning, perhaps "be quiet," "cease," or "let it go.")

8 denier French copper coin of little value.  Go . . . Jeronimy (Sly's variation of an often quoted line from Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, urging caution.)

8-9 go . . . thee (Perhaps a proverb; see King Lear, 3.4.46-7.)

10-11 thirdborough constable.

12 Third (Sly shows his ignorance; the third in "thirdborough" derives from the Old English word frith, "peace.")

13 by law in the law courts.

14 kindly welcome. (Said ironically.)

14.1 Wind Blow

14.2 train retinue.

15 tender care for

16 Breathe Merriman Give the dog Merriman time to recover its breath.  embossed foaming at the mouth from exhaustion

17 couple leash together.  deep-mouthed brach bitch hound with the deep baying voice.

18 made it good i.e., picked up the lost scent

19 in the coldest fault when the scent was lost by a fault or break in the scent.

22 cried . . . loss bayed to signal his recovery of the scent after it had been completely lost

[Induction.1] A Enter Beggar (Christopher Sly) and


sly I'll feeze you, in faith. 1

hostess A pair of stocks, you rogue! 2

sly You're a baggage. The Slys are no rogues. Look in 3

the chronicles; we came in with Richard Conqueror. 4

Therefore paucas pallabris, let the world slide. Sessa! 5

hostess You will not pay for the glasses you have


sly No, not a denier. Go by, Saint Jeronimy, go to thy 8

cold bed and warm thee. 9

hostess I know my remedy; I must go fetch the third- 10

borough. [Exit.] 11

sly Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him 12

by law. I'll not budge an inch, boy. Let him come, and 13

kindly. Falls asleep. 14

Wind horns [within]. Enter a Lord from hunt-

ing, with his train.


Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds. 15

Breathe Merriman--the poor cur is embossed-- 16

And couple Clowder with the deep-mouthed brach. 17

Saw'st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good 18

At the hedge corner, in the coldest fault? 19

I would not lose the dog for twenty pound.

first huntsman

Why, Bellman is as good as he, my lord.

He cried upon it at the merest loss, 22

27 sup them well feed them a good supper

34 image likeness (since sleep was regarded as a likeness of death).

35 practice on play a joke on

37 sweet perfumed

38 banquet light repast

39 brave finely arrayed

41 cannot choose is bound to.

43 fancy flight of imagination.

47 Balm Bathe, anoint

And twice today picked out the dullest scent.

Trust me, I take him for the better dog.


Thou art a fool. If Echo were as fleet,

I would esteem him worth a dozen such.

But sup them well and look unto them all. 27

Tomorrow I intend to hunt again.

first huntsman I will, my lord.

lord [seeing Sly]

What's here? One dead, or drunk? See, doth he


second huntsman [examining Sly]

He breathes, my lord. Were he not warmed with ale,

This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly.


Oh, monstrous beast, how like a swine he lies!

Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine image! 34

Sirs, I will practice on this drunken man. 35

What think you, if he were conveyed to bed,

Wrapped in sweet clothes, rings put upon his fingers, 37

A most delicious banquet by his bed, 38

And brave attendants near him when he wakes, 39

Would not the beggar then forget himself?

first huntsman

Believe me, lord, I think he cannot choose. 41

second huntsman

It would seem strange unto him when he waked.


Even as a flatt'ring dream or worthless fancy. 43

Then take him up, and manage well the jest.

Carry him gently to my fairest chamber,

And hang it round with all my wanton pictures.

Balm his foul head in warm distilld waters, 47

And burn sweet wood to make the lodging sweet.

Procure me music ready when he wakes,

50 dulcet melodious

51 straight at once

52 reverence bow

56 ewer jug, pitcher.  diaper towel

60 horse horses

61 disease i.e., mental derangement.

63 when . . . is i.e., when he says he must be mad indeed. (The is is stressed.)

65 kindly naturally (and thus persuasively).  gentle kind

66 passing surpassingly

67 husbanded with modesty managed with decorum.

69 As so that.  by as a result of

72 office duty

73 Sirrah (Usual form of address to inferiors.)

74 Belike Perhaps

76 An't If it

To make a dulcet and a heavenly sound. 50

And if he chance to speak, be ready straight, 51

And with a low submissive reverence 52

Say, "What is it Your Honor will command?"

Let one attend him with a silver basin

Full of rosewater and bestrewed with flowers;

Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper, 56

And say, "Will 't please Your Lordship cool your


Someone be ready with a costly suit,

And ask him what apparel he will wear;

Another tell him of his hounds and horse, 60

And that his lady mourns at his disease. 61

Persuade him that he hath been lunatic,

And when he says he is, say that he dreams, 63

For he is nothing but a mighty lord.

This do, and do it kindly, gentle sirs. 65

It will be pastime passing excellent, 66

If it be husbanded with modesty. 67

first huntsman

My lord, I warrant you we will play our part

As he shall think by our true diligence 69

He is no less than what we say he is.


Take him up gently, and to bed with him,

And each one to his office when he wakes. 72

[Some bear out Sly.] Sound trumpets [within].

Sirrah, go see what trumpet 'tis that sounds. 73

[Exit a Servingman.]

Belike some noble gentleman that means, 74

Traveling some journey, to repose him here.

Enter [a] Servingman.

How now? Who is it?

servingman An't please Your Honor, players 76

That offer service to Your Lordship.

81 So please If it please.  duty expression of respect and dutiful service.

89 happy opportune

90 The rather for the more so since

91 cunning professional skill

93 doubtful apprehensive.  modesties discretion, self-control

94 overeyeing of witnessing

96 merry passion outburst of laughter

100 veriest antic oddest buffoon or eccentric

101 buttery pantry, or a room for storing liquor (in butts) and other provisions

Enter Players.


Bid them come near.--Now, fellows, you are welcome.

players We thank Your Honor.


Do you intend to stay with me tonight?

first player

So please Your Lordship to accept our duty. 81


With all my heart. This fellow I remember

Since once he played a farmer's eldest son.--

'Twas where you wooed the gentlewoman so well.

I have forgot your name, but sure that part

Was aptly fitted and naturally performed.

second player

I think 'twas Soto that Your Honor means.


'Tis very true. Thou didst it excellent.

Well, you are come to me in happy time, 89

The rather for I have some sport in hand 90

Wherein your cunning can assist me much. 91

There is a lord will hear you play tonight.

But I am doubtful of your modesties, 93

Lest, overeyeing of his odd behavior-- 94

For yet His Honor never heard a play--

You break into some merry passion 96

And so offend him; for I tell you, sirs,

If you should smile, he grows impatient.

first player

Fear not, my lord, we can contain ourselves,

Were he the veriest antic in the world. 100

lord [to a Servingman]

Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery, 101

And give them friendly welcome every one.

103 want lack

105 in all suits in every detail. (With a pun on suits of clothes.)

107 do him obeisance show him dutiful respect.

108 him i.e., the page Bartholomew.  as he will if he wishes to

111 by them accomplished performed by the ladies.

121 him himself

125 shift purpose

126 napkin handkerchief.  close secretly

127 in despite i.e., notwithstanding a natural inclination to laugh rather than cry

129 Anon Soon

130 usurp assume

133 And how i.e., and to see how

135 I'll in I'll go in

Let them want nothing that my house affords. 103

Exit one with the Players.

Sirrah, go you to Barthol'mew my page,

And see him dressed in all suits like a lady. 105

That done, conduct him to the drunkard's chamber,

And call him "madam," do him obeisance. 107

Tell him from me, as he will win my love, 108

He bear himself with honorable action

Such as he hath observed in noble ladies

Unto their lords by them accomplishd. 111

Such duty to the drunkard let him do

With soft low tongue and lowly courtesy,

And say, "What is't Your Honor will command,

Wherein your lady and your humble wife

May show her duty and make known her love?"

And then with kind embracements, tempting kisses,

And with declining head into his bosom,

Bid him shed tears, as being overjoyed

To see her noble lord restored to health,

Who for this seven years hath esteemed him 121

No better than a poor and loathsome beggar.

And if the boy have not a woman's gift

To rain a shower of commanded tears,

An onion will do well for such a shift, 125

Which in a napkin being close conveyed 126

Shall in despite enforce a watery eye. 127

See this dispatched with all the haste thou canst.

Anon I'll give thee more instructions. 129

Exit a Servingman.

I know the boy will well usurp the grace, 130

Voice, gait, and action of a gentlewoman.

I long to hear him call the drunkard husband,

And how my men will stay themselves from laughter 133

When they do homage to this simple peasant.

I'll in to counsel them. Haply my presence 135

136 spleen mood. (The spleen was the supposed seat of laughter and anger.)

Induction.2 Location: A bedchamber in the Lord's house.

0.1 aloft i.e., in the gallery over the rear facade of the stage

1 small weak (and therefore cheap)

2 sack sweet Spanish wine (suited for a gentleman to drink).

3 conserves candied fruit.

7 conserves of beef preserved (salted) beef.

9 doublets men's jackets

11 as that

12 overleather upper leather of the shoe.

13 idle humor foolish whim

18 Burton-heath (Perhaps Barton on the Heath, about sixteen miles from Stratford, the home of Shakespeare's aunt.)

19 cardmaker maker of cards or combs used to prepare wool for spinning

20 bearherd keeper of a performing bear.  tinker pot mender.

21 alewife woman who keeps an alehouse.  Wincot small village about four miles from Stratford. (The parish register shows that there were Hackets living there in 1591.)

May well abate the overmerry spleen 136

Which otherwise would grow into extremes.


[Induction.2] A Enter aloft the drunkard [Sly], with attendants; some with apparel, basin, and ewer and other appurtenances; and Lord.

sly For God's sake, a pot of small ale. 1

first servingman

Will't please Your Lordship drink a cup of sack? 2

second servingman

Will't please Your Honor taste of these conserves? 3

third servingman

What raiment will Your Honor wear today?

sly I am Christophero Sly. Call not me "Honor" nor

"Lordship." I ne'er drank sack in my life; and if you

give me any conserves, give me conserves of beef. 7

Ne'er ask me what raiment I'll wear, for I have no

more doublets than backs, no more stockings than 9

legs, nor no more shoes than feet--nay, sometimes

more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look 11

through the overleather. 12


Heaven cease this idle humor in Your Honor! 13

Oh, that a mighty man of such descent,

Of such possessions and so high esteem,

Should be infused with so foul a spirit!

sly What, would you make me mad? Am not I Christo-

pher Sly, old Sly's son of Burton-heath, by birth a 18

peddler, by education a cardmaker, by transmutation 19

a bearherd, and now by present profession a tinker? 20

Ask Marian Hacket, the fat alewife of Wincot, if she 21

22-3 on the score in debt (since such reckonings were originally notched or scored on a stick)

23 sheer nothing but.  score me up for reckon me to be

24 bestraught distracted

29 As as if

31 ancient former

34 beck nod.

35 Apollo i.e., as god of music

39 Semiramis legendary queen of Assyria, famous for her voluptuousness.

40 bestrew i.e., scatter rushes on

41 trapped adorned

45 welkin sky, heavens

47 course hunt the hare

48 breathed in good physical condition, with good wind.  roe small, swift deer.

50 Adonis a young huntsman with whom Venus is vainly in love. (See Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 10, and Shakespeare's poem, Venus and Adonis.)

know me not. If she say I am not fourteen pence on 22

the score for sheer ale, score me up for the lyingest 23

knave in Christendom. What, I am not bestraught: 24


third servingman

Oh, this it is that makes your lady mourn!

second servingman

Oh, this is it that makes your servants droop!


Hence comes it that your kindred shuns your house,

As beaten hence by your strange lunacy. 29

Oh, noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth.

Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment, 31

And banish hence these abject lowly dreams.

Look how thy servants do attend on thee,

Each in his office ready at thy beck. 34

Wilt thou have music? Hark, Apollo plays, Music. 35

And twenty caged nightingales do sing.

Or wilt thou sleep? We'll have thee to a couch,

Softer and sweeter than the lustful bed

On purpose trimmed up for Semiramis. 39

Say thou wilt walk; we will bestrew the ground. 40

Or wilt thou ride? Thy horses shall be trapped, 41

Their harness studded all with gold and pearl.

Dost thou love hawking? Thou hast hawks will soar

Above the morning lark. Or wilt thou hunt?

Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them 45

And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth.

first servingman

Say thou wilt course, thy greyhounds are as swift 47

As breathed stags, ay, fleeter than the roe. 48

second servingman

Dost thou love pictures? We will fetch thee straight

Adonis painted by a running brook, 50

Excerpted from The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

A robust and bawdy battle of the sexes, this ever popular comedy captivates audiences with outrageous humor as Katharina, the shrew, engages in a contest of wills–and love–with her bridegroom, Petruchio. Their boisterous conflict is set off against a more conventional romantic plot involving the wooing of Katharina’s lovely and compliant sister, Bianca. Rich with the psychological themes of identity and transformation, the play is quintessentially lighthearted, filled with visual gags, witty repartee, and unmatched theatrical brilliance from Petruchio’s demand, “Kiss me, Kate!” to the final spectacle of the wedding feast.

Each Edition Includes:
• Comprehensive explanatory notes
• Vivid introductions and the most up-to-date scholarship
• Clear, modernized spelling and punctuation, enabling contemporary readers to understand the Elizabethan English
• Completely updated, detailed bibliographies and performance histories
• An interpretive essay on film adaptations of the play, along with an extensive filmography

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