A quick overview of what happens in the plot of The Taming of The Shrew.
  • In Padua, wealthy Baptista has two daughters. The youngest, ‘mild’ Bianca, has many suitors but Baptista will not accept any of them until her older ’wild’ sister Katherina, or Kate, has a husband.

    Did you know?

    Padua was famous across Italy for its university.

  • Lucenctio is in love with Bianca. To spend time with her, he disguises himself as a teacher and goes to work in Baptista’s house. Lucentio’s servant, Tranio, pretends to be Lucentio.

  • Petruchio is looking for a rich wife to marry. When he hears about Katherina, he says he will marry her even if she is a shrew. After they have met, Baptista agrees to the marriage.

    Did you know?

    Women who spoke their own minds were often punished in this time period. One punishment for women who were seen to be too outspoken were ‘scold’s bridles’. These were metal headpieces which kept the tongue from moving and therefore stopped the wearer from speaking.

  • Petruchio arrives really late for the wedding, and turns up wearing strange clothes. He behaves oddly and insists that he and Katherina leave before the wedding feast.

  • Tranio, disguised as Lucentio, asks Baptista if he can marry Bianca now her sister is married. Baptista agrees and, meanwhile, the real Lucentio gets close to Bianca during their lessons and reveals his true identity.

  • When Katherina arrives at Petruchio’s home, her husband continues to behave strangely. He ‘tames’ her by stopping her from eating or sleeping.

  • Petruchio says they will not return to Padua and 'toward our father's' unless Katherina agrees that the sun is the moon. She begins to agree with everything he says.

  • Lucentio and Bianca marry in secret, then he and Tranio reveal their true identities to Baptista.

  • Petruchio and Katherina return and everyone is shocked to see how differently Katherina behaves. Bianca and Lucientio reveal that they have already married.

  • Petruchio places a wager on who has the most obedient wife. Whilst the other women refuse to do what their husbands say, Katherina does and Petruchio wins the bet.

Teacher Notes

The following activity is a great way to introduce the story of The Taming of the Shrew to a group of students who are getting to know the play.

The story in Ten Scenes (2019)

The activity can be found on pages 3-4 and takes approximately 30 minutes. This exercise also invites you to experiment with reversing the genders of most characters, as the RSC did for the 2019 production.

You can also print the ten lines on this page and ask students to work in pairs to arrange them in the order they take place in the play.