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The Taming of the Shrew: Classroom Activities

The Taming of the Shrew: Classroom Activities

Be an Artist

Draw a picture of Kate and Petruchio when they first meet. Draw a picture of them at the end of the play. Make sure the pictures show how their feelings about one another have changed.

Design the Set

The Utah Shakespearean Festival’s 2010 education touring production of The Taming of the Shrew was set in the Wild West. Its 2008 main stage production was set in 1948 Italy, and the 2015 Adams production was set in Shakespeare’s time. Discuss other places and times you could set the play. As a class draw pictures of what the set for the opening scene would look like in a medieval castle, in a big modern city, or in ancient China.

Use the Script

As a class create, or find in the text, one line from the beginning, one from the middle, and one from the end of the play that sums up each of the main character’s attitudes during that section of the play (three lines for Kate, Petruchio, Baptista, Bianca, Lucentio, and Hortensio). Have students in the class speak the lines aloud in order to express the various attitudes.

Shakespearean Insults

The play is full of colorful insults. Make a list of those you can find within the text. Examples include minion, foolish knave, rascal, horeson villain, twangling jack, and beetle-headed, flap-ear’d knave. Have students create their own insults using animal, pop-culture, and even technological imagery. Have them share the best examples they come up with.

You’re the Actor

Examine the fight scene between Bianca and Kate. Do you get the feeling this isn’t the first time this has happened? Look for clues about the roots of their arguments. Brainstorm ideas on how they could overcome their differences and become friends. Explore the power of matching words and action by having students read the scene aloud with different feelings (sweetness, anger, humor, etc.) behind the words.

Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History

Make a list of Kate’s character traits. What does she do that make people call her a shrew? Make a list of famous and infamous women. Do these women share Kate’s traits? Discuss how/if Kate has changed at the end of the play. Did she really change, or did the way people see her change?