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The Taming of the Shrew: Middle and High School Discussion

The Taming of the Shrew: Middle and High School Discussion

Compare and Contrast


1. Study the character of Petruchio. His name is an Anglicized version of the Italian “Petruccio” meaning “rock” or “stone.” Is there anything in the text that links the meaning behind the name to the character?


2. Taming of the Shrew was written sometime between 1590 and 1592, in 1598 he wrote Much Ado About Nothing, another play that deals with a headstrong couple that don’t get along and eventually fall in love. How do they relate to each other? How has Shakespeare changed as a writer in those 6ish years?


3. Watch the movie Ten Things I Hate About You, 1999. Compare and contrast the two stories. What is the same? What is different? How do changes in the character’s relationships affect the meaning and feel­ing of the story?




1. At what point in the story did Kate and Petruchio’s relationship begin to change? Who did it begin with?


2. When Petruchio arrived at the wedding dressed in his crazy outfit everyone else was upset. Why do you think he did that? Was that part of Kate’s “taming” or was it for the benefit of everyone else? How do you think people would react if something like that happened today?


3. Look at the way Baptista speaks to and about Bianca, then to/about Kate. What is similar and what is different. Do you think the girls actions have been influenced by their father?




1. Read Kate’s final speech, what do you think she is saying there? Has she really been tamed?


2. Read the scene where Tranio (as Lucentio) and Gremio are comparing wealth in order to win Bianca from her father. Compare these men to Petruchio. Who makes the better husband? Witch of the girls is better off in their matches?


3. Read the final scene of the play. Which couple seems happier at the end? Why do you think that is?


Shakespeare’s World


1.  In Shakespeare’s time women were often treated as property and second class citizens. There is a theory that Shakespeare wrote this play to highlight the unfair position women held in society, does the text support this idea?


2.  How do you think Shakespeare would react if he knew that you were learning about his play more than 450 years after he wrote it?


3. How to you think the actors (all male) would have overcome the challenges of perform­ing this very romantic script to a widely diverse audience (some very rich and some very poor), in the middle of the day, with no special effects? What would they have to do to keep their attention? How does Shakespeare’s arrangement of the action help?