The Taming of the Shrew: Questions and Essay Topics
1. Upon what old play is this present one of Shakespeare based?
2. How has Shakespeare improved on the original?
3. From whom did he take the suggestion for the Induction? Mention the source of the under plot; of the Latin lesson.
4. Explain the purpose of the Induction. Is it thoroughly
welded with the play?
5. What habit of Elizabethan audiences is appropriated to the
action of the play?
6. How does Sly answer the Hostess's plea that he pay for broken glasses? What humorous characteristic does he display?
7. What comparison is implied between beast and man in Sc. i.?
8. With what purpose does the Lord undertake the jest which
he plays upon Sly?
9. How is his plan further elaborated by the arrival of players?
What custom of Elizabethan times does this episode of the
10. Does Sly realize the Lord's expectations? How is Sly shown a braggart?
11. Is the vulgarity of Sly any worse than that of the Lord?
12. How does Shakespeare characterize Padua, Lombardy, Pisa?
13. Who was Lucentio's father? What had been Lucentio's education? What relaxation did he seek?
14. How is he answered by Tranio? Explain the allusion to Aristotle and Ovid.
15. Who enter in company with Baptista and his two daughters? What condition has he set to the marriage of Bianca?
What is Litcentio's first impression of her?
16. How do Hortensio and Gremio plan to overcome the obstacle in the way of their addresses to Bianca? How does Lucentio likewise?
17. What is Sly's comment on the play? Describe the humour of Shakespeare s characterization of the Tinker.
18. What hint of Petruchio's character do you get from his encounter with his man Grumio, Sc. ii.?
19. Upon what mission do we find Petruchio bent?
20. Does his extravagance make him a character of comedy or
21. What plan for seeing Bianca does Hortensio make with
22. Explain the allusion (ii. 257, 258) to Hercules and Alcides.
23. How does the opening of this Act exhibit Katharina?
24. Explain the expression (i. 34) lead apes in hell. In what
sense does Beatrice use it in Much Ado About Nothing, 11. i. 40?
Does not Katharina show a genuine desire to marry?
25. How does Baptista stipulate that Katharina shall be won?
How does Petruchio describe his manner of wooing?
26. Is the scene of Katharina beating her music master more humorous in the telling than it would be enacted before the
27. Describe the probable manner of Katharina's entrance in the first Scene after line 182.
28. In comparison with that, show the humour of Petruchio's opening of the dialogue with Katharina.
29. Was Katharina small or large? Where do you find confirmation of your view?
30. What was it that brought Katharina around to assent to
31. What form of betrothal did Baptista use? Was it English?
32. What remarkable examples of local colour does this Act contain? From this and The Merchant of Venice what reasons
do commentators find to believe that Shakespeare travelled in Italy?
33. Mention some tributes in this and other plays made to music.
34. Describe the scene of the lessons.
35. What is the cumulative effect of Sc. ii.?
36. When does the taming first begin ?
37. How does Shakespeare here and elsewhere refer to school?
38. Why is the marriage-scene not enacted in the sight of the
39. How does the report of it by Grumio assist the effect of the scene immediately following?
40. Indicate the dramatic purpose of the early part of Sc. i., carried on between Curtis and Grumio.
41. How does Katharina take the part of the servants against
42. Describe how the bride and bridegroom finished the day together.
43. What sporting figure does Shakespeare employ in Petruchio's soliloquy at the end of Sc. i.?
44. How is the ground abandoned by the other lovers of Bianca in favour of Lucentio?
45. Whom does Hortensio promise to wed? How does this match of Hortensio furnish a faint shadow of the main plot?
46. For what purpose is the Pedant made to personate Vincentio?
47. In what other play does Shakespeare make use of the restrictive laws passed by Italian cities against each other? How,
in this one, is such a law made to subserve the plot?
48. Explain how the plight of Katharina as depicted in Sc. iii. is comic and not pathetic?
49. What sign of relenting does Petruchio give in lines 50-60?
50. How further is Katharina tried?
51. What stages in the under plot are accomplished in Sc. iv.?
52. What height of comic absurdity does the main plot reach in Sc. v.? Is this the climax of the play? Indicate the exact point.
53. Show how all the threads of the drama are drawn together at the close of the fourth Act.
54. What does the opening of this Act foreshadow?
55. How do the real and the counterfeit fathers of Lucentio meet? What is the dramatic purpose of this parley?
56. Is the intrigue of the under plot convincing? Show wherein it is weak.
57. Indicate the dramatic nature of the last Scene.
58. What wager does Petruchio lay, and how is it won?
59. Does Petruchio ever show genuine ill humour?
60. Does this play convey a sense of reality?
61. Its moral is obvious. State what it is.
62. Why does Sly disappear after the first Act?
63. Which of the characters is conceived in the highest spirit of
64. Is there any evil in the nature of Katharina?
65. In comparison with Shakespeare's other comedies, is this noticeably lacking in distinctly poetic qualities? Assign the reason
for your view.
How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. The Taming of the Shrew. Ed. Israel Gollencz. New York: University Society, 1901. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2011. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/taming/tamingessaytopics.html >.
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