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The Taming of the Shrew

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  109,394 ratings  ·  1,561 reviews
One of the most controversial and problematic of all of Shakespeare's plays, The Taming of the Shrew is a typical Elizabethan domestic comedy written around 1592. Petruchio, a gentleman of Verona, arrives in Padua and announces to his friends that "I come to wive it wealthily in Padua; / If wealthily, then happily in Padua". He soon finds that a group of men keen to marry ...more
Paperback, The New Penguin Shakespeare, 255 pages
Published 1968 by Penguin Books (first published 1590)
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The Taming of the Shrew, abridged.

PETRUCHIO: Hey Mr Minola, I wanna marry your daughter. The fact that she comes included with an awesome dowry has nothing to do with this.

BAPTISTA: Oh, I'm sorry, I have this jackass rule that my daughter Bianca can't get married until her evil older sister does, so...

PETRUCHIO: No, I want to marry the Kate chick. My friends tell me she's a ballbusting bitch - a "shrew", if you will - and I love a challenge.

BAPTISTA: SOLD! to the rich guy with a death wish. Hav
Lucentio: Hey, I'm Lucentio. Who's that hot girl?
Bianca: That would be me. And hotness is about all I have going for me. Because I only have about 5 lines.
Lucentio: Wanna have sex get married?
Baptista: I'm her father, you whippersnapper. Get in line. She can't get married until her older sister does.
Lucentio: Who's that?
Katherina: ROAR! GNASH! GNARL! I don't want to get married, but I live in Elizabethan England so I must. I also have a violent streak and beat up my sister all the time because s
Jason Koivu
They say TV and video games are a bad influence, well, this play has been corrupting minds since 1590!

It's crap like this that makes people think that playing mind games with one another is the correct path to true love. It says that lying about who you are and what your intentions are, as well as flat out pretending to be something you're not, that is the way, says The Taming of the Shrew, to win love and warp a person into who you want them to be. Poppycock, I say!

Hold on please...




I’m not even kidding. This play is more violent than King Lear. True, nobody dies in it—after all, it is a comedy (although whether you find it funny or not is a different matter)—but it is violent nonetheless. You know that sick feeling that manifests itself in the pit of your stomach when watching scenes of domestic violence or otherwise abusive relationships in movies or on TV? Isn’t it funny then how dormant that feeling seems to be when watching instead scenes of bloodbath-laden homicide à ...more
Anthony Vacca
The Taming of the Shrew is definitely not the late 16th century proto-feminist masterpiece you’ve been hankering for, but what it lacks in positive portrayals of the “fairer sex,” is overshadowed by the bounding leaps of comic gusto on display in every line of verse. Simply put, TTotS is a caustic farce of the war between the sexes (the “merry war” that, due to inbreeding and lack of imagination, would eventually devolve into the barely functioning aborted mutant that is the modern day RomCom) t ...more
Abigail Hartman
I can see why this play is little appreciated nowadays - it runs so completely counter to the modern notions of "gender equality" and feminism. I freely confess that Petruchio's methods with Katharina are rough (in an indirect manner; from passionate reviews I expected him to beat her every day before breakfast, but in fact he uses crazier, more shrewish means). On the other hand, she frankly deserves what she gets. She was not "strong-minded" - she was downright nasty, and the way Petruchio bri ...more
This is quite possibly my favourite Shakespeare play and one that I come back to time and time again although not on a regular basis sometimes it's months or in this caes a couple of years. I love it for it's humour and the way the relationship develops between Petruchio and Katharine,and I love the way Katharine eventually submits.

For me this is not a sexist play I read it and enjoy it for what it is, the submission of a woman to her husband:)

Click here for William Shakespeare Disclaimer

An engaging and light-hearted comedy, Taming of the Shrew has no real heavy themes other than maybe everyone deserves to be loved or love conquers all. Shakespeare has made so many works that have affected the world over, but I still think his greatest achievements are his comedies. Love, confusion, trickery, misunderstandings, and happy endings are his forte and the way they come together at the end always leaves the audience happy and content. Tam
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I'd have to say this is one of my less favorite of Shakespeare's works, although it's a lot more fun to see it performed than to read it, since you can get a better idea of the absurdity of all the impersonations.
As a modern woman, I'm a bit put off by the way Petruchio "tames" Kate by what really amounts to abuse ---refusing her food and sleep. Also, the speech Kate makes at the end is a little far-fetched, as if she has magically been transformed into this perfect example of the Christian mono
Ana Carter  シ
Oct 23, 2011 Ana Carter シ rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Ana by: Teacher
Bill  Kerwin

Re-reading the play this time, I liked it a little better than I thought I would. I predicted that the brutal treatment of Katharine by Petruchio would ruin the play for me, but it didn't. From the induction involving Christopher Sly, the text of "The Taming of the Shrew" is full of so many transformations (tinker to lord, page to lady, servant to rich young man, rich young man to teacher of grammar, rich suitor to music teacher, wandering scholar to prosperous merchant, etc.) as well as so many
Emily May
It makes some people feel better to believe that the rampant misogyny in this play is supposed to be ironic. Well, whatever. I still don't much enjoy watching a woman having her spirit broken down until she's nothing but a shell of what she once was.
I read this not only because I like Shakespeare, but I'm a big fan of "10 Things I Hate About You." I mean, who isn't? I must have seen the movie well over a hundred times by now. After reading the play, I gotta say I was a little surprised. I knew the movie wouldn't be even close to accurate, but there was one big change I didn't expect. While in the movie Heath Ledger "tames" the shrew Julia Stiles with things like openness, kindness, persistence, kisses and paintball, in the play Petruchio ta ...more
Huda Aweys
I love women in Shakespeare's theater, she is always main .., She is special .. have a rich and complex character ..
and nice :)
أحب المرأة فى مسرح شكسبير فهي دائما بطلة ، مميزة .. صاحبة شخصية معقدة و غنية .. و لطيفة :)
This play is difficult to read today when the plot is so unacceptable even on a Punch-and-Judy level; if someone offered this relationship advice on Reddit, we'd call for him to be removed from the gene pool with a rusty barbecue fork. I'm finding myself reading the (unbelievably long and thorough) Wikipedia articles summarizing critical opinions on Shakespeare, and for this one quite a lot of it has to do with justifying the apparent misogyny of this play, or wrapping it up in a more palatable ...more
David Sarkies
This is a very difficult play for us modern minds to come to grips with, though when one approaches this play one does need to consider that this play would have been difficult to stomach for the original theatre goers as well, however, if one does some research into the literature upon which this play is based, one can see that (pardon the pun) this play is quite tame compared to its sources. The source that I am referring to is a poem by Hugh Jackson, written in about 1550, entitled “Here Beg ...more
Madeline Knight-Dixon
The Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare:

I have so many problems with this play, I don’t even know where to begin. The thing that is the hardest to realize about Shakespeare is that the word “comedy” doesn’t mean humor. It means the play ends with someone getting married. But to assume this means it ends happily is an ignorant modern notion.

There’s tons of feminist criticism about this play, with the central question being this; Is Katherine pleased at the end because she’s actually been tam
Karen Floyd
I just re-read this with the idea of the relationship between Kate and Petrucchio being an abusive one, an idea proposed by Laurie Maguire in her book "Where There's a Will, There's a Way, or, All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Shakespeare." Sadly, I have to conclude that it is indeed an abusive relationship. Petrucchio is concerned to marry a rich wife and to tame her to be pleasant to live with. He uses falconry terms when talking about Kate, and how he intends to train her. There is nev ...more

Ok. I didn't like the way women were portrayed in this play!
I think the rudeness of Katherine The Shrew is not her fault at all! It's the fault of her father that she turned out a shrew in the first place! He treated her sister Bianca better than he treated her, and then she, poor Katherine, is portrayed as a bad and an envious person! Babtista, her father, is the one to blame.


As for Bianca, I don't think she's a wonderful person at all! And maybe she's responsible too, just like her father, fo
Emily Snyder
I must admit that my rating of the play is based in large part on having directed a version of "Shrew" in 2010 that ranks among my all-time favorite play performances. (You can see the wooing scene here: There are difficulties in the text. It's an early work, possibly written before Shakespeare had ever worked with actors, since it allows not time off for Petruchio in Act IV as well as several other amateur mistakes.

Most egregious, though, is that there is no scene
Twenty One
I realize Shakespeare might sound a bit misogynistic. But his works should be read in the context of his time, from that vantage point this play is a pure joy ride.

In my personal experience when one decides to read Shakespeare, one shouldn't treat it like one would any other book. His works, along with King James Bible and a few other literary works are some of the tallest and sturdiest giants on whose shoulders the whole English literature stands. Therefore it's important for one to commit to
Michael Jones
I really enjoyed this little play, and thanks to the people on for reading it to me-- not bad!

Some of the other reviews on here are very harsh with PETRUCHIO for his methods of subduing KATE. Well, I read Shakespeare's plays and I see Christian imagery all over the place. Notice that the father's name is BAPTISTA.

I see in KATE the church, the bride of Christ! She is baptized, but she eventually needs to bring her will into conformity with Jesus the groom. Jesus has to use very sever
'For I am rough and woo not like a babe.'
'This is a way to kill a wife with kindness...'
'First kiss me, Kate, and we will.'

All discussions of the play here on Goodreads and everywhere else begin and end with how offended we should be by it. Is it disturbing evidence of abuses justified and encouraged by an evil patriarchal system, or the exact opposite by being a brave satire of same? Rather than answer that question, look instead at the play as farce.

In farce, pe
Lexi Lewis
Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is more than a comedic play about converting “poor Katherine the Curst” into a formidable wife; it is also vector for delivering thematic elements and exploring complex relationships. One of the motifs prevalent throughout Taming is the idea of deception or disguise as a way of challenging the confines of social hierarchy. While this is primarily reflected through physical disguises to determine “whether the clothes really do make the man,” it is also eviden ...more
Whatever we may think about the apparent misogyny in The Taming of the Shrew, popular culture -- for good or ill -- owes a great debt to Shakespeare's tale of Kate and Petruchio, and even a little bit to Christophero Sly (remember Eddie Murphy's Trading Places?).

From It Happened One Night, Philadelphia Story and Disney's Beauty and the Beast to Remington Steele, Fawlty Towers and X-Files (just to name a small few), The Taming of the Shrew has been the template for some of the most memorable film
Anne Osterlund
Kate is the shrew, i.e. the disobedient oldest daughter with the "curst" tongue. Bianca is perfection--the younger, beauteous daughter EVERYONE wishes to marry.

Except Petruchio. Who wants money.

Or at least that's what he says he wants when he sets out to "tame" the shrew.

An endeavor that just might be worth the wait in gold.

This was the second time I've read this in the past three years, and I loved the banter even more this time. There is so MUCH buried--and revealed--in the lines. Sizzle.
Katharina and Bianca are the daughters of Baptista. Bianca has many suitors, and they all want to marry her, nonetheless, Baptista won't let Bianca marry until the eldest (Katharina) has married. The problem with that is that Kate doesn't want to marry. Thus, Petrucio marries Kate and “tames” her, because she's a shrew.

This one bothered me to no end. I know, it's supposed to be funny, and it's supposed that Shakespeare was making fun of the men in the play, but still, I don't think “taming” a wo
Ilze Folkmane
Let's do Maths.
It's five stars for the language. And then minus four for the content.
Apparently 'Taming the Shrew' means sleep deprivation, starvation and public humiliation, so the Shrew would be obedient to her husband. I did not find this amusing one bit.
Jenny Maloney
Gah! This one is tough -- just reading it, you really wanna slap Shakespeare across the face and scream, "Tame this, beyotch!"

However, there's a lot of room for actors to interpret things throughout, which possibly makes it less about 'taming' and more about creating a crazed team of madness between Petruccio and Katherine -- together they inflict more damage on the world than either of them singly. But it's all in how the performers choose to play it. The text is less forgiving if you take it
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
More about William Shakespeare...
Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Othello

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