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Shakespeare Explained: Quick Questions on The Taming of the Shrew

INDUCTION

1. Describe Christopher Sly.
Christopher Sly is a drunken tinker, with whom the hostess of the inn is quarreling outside the inn because of the glasses he has broken.

2. Outline the induction.
The first scene gives a good idea of Sly, and shows the lord coming in from hunting with his fine hounds and his huntsmen. He discovers Sly in his drunken sleep. He decides to have Sly taken to his, the lord's, home, put in his best chamber, and treated as a most honored guest would be. Just after Sly has been taken away a servant says some strolling players offer their service to his lordship. He orders them to play before Sly. He has his page dress as a lady and pretend to be Sly's wife.

3. In what frame of mind would this induction put an audience?
This induction would put an audience in a very happy frame of mind.

ACT I

4. What part of the story is told in Scene i?
This scene describes the two daughters of Baptista, Katharina and Bianca; Bianca's three suitors and the father's refusal to accept any of them until Katharina has one. It tells of Lucentio's plan to woo Bianca unknown to her father.

5. Why has Petruchio come to Padua?
Petruchio has come to Padua to see something of the world and to find a rich wife.

6. How does he receive Hortensio's suggestion about Katharina?
He says he would like to meet Katharina at once, that if he married "wealthily, then it will be happily."

ACT II SCENE I

7. Describe the comedy elements in this scene.
Petruchio asks for Katharina and describes her as possessing all the qualities which he knows she lacks. He presents Hortensio as a tutor, and Gremio presents Lucentio as a tutor of Greek and Latin. Tranio the servant, introduces himself as Lucentio. These are some of the comic elements.

8. What effect would the first meeting of Petruchio and Kate produce on the stage?
The first meeting of Petruchio and Kate would be very funny. This is the first time she has ever met anyone who was not afraid of her.

9. What does Baptista say concerning his daughter Bianca's suitors?
"'Tis deeds must win the prize; and he of both that can assure my daughter's greatest dower shall have my Bianca's love." Scene i, lines 344-346.

ACT III SCENE I

10. Describe the Latin lesson and the waiting music teacher.
The real Lucentio is trying to tell Bianca who he is, while pretending to teach her Latin. Hortensio is tuning his instrument, impatiently waiting to give her a music lesson and try to further his suit. Bianca shows that she is something of a coquette.

11. How must Kate have felt when her fiance arrived for the wedding?
Kate had protested against marrying Petruchio, she was chagrined when he did not appear at the appointed hour. When he did appear in his fantastic dress she certainly would not have married him if she had not feared him.

12. How did Kate accept her first "taming"?
Kate tries entreaty and then independence in vain.

ACT IV

13. How is the love-story progressing?
Bianca's love-story is progressing rapidly. Hortensio becomes disgusted and says he will be married to a wealthy widow.

14.What part does the pedant play?
The pedant plays the part of Lucentio's father, Vincentio.



15. How does the story progress?
The story progresses rapidly; while Baptista goes to make the marriage agreement with the supposed father the real Lucentio takes Bianca to the church and marries her.

16. Was the use of the disguised identities a favorite device of Shakespeare? Where has he used it in this play?
Shakespeare made much use of disguised identities; in this play Lucentio and Hortensio are disguised as teachers, Tranio as Lucentio, and the pedant as Vincentio.

17. What is the strength of this play?
The story of Katharina and Petruchio is the strong thing in the play.

18. What is its weakness? Is the interest maintained throughout?
The weakness is the long drawn out story of Bianca and the numberless foolish intrigues. The theme of the play seems nearer farce than comedy.

How to cite this article:
Lunt, Forrest. Shakespeare Explained: A Reader's Guide. New York: Hearst's International Library, 1915. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2011. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/taming/tamingexplained.html >.
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