ONE NIGHT OF SHAKESPEARE - THE PLAYS
The Taming of the Shrew
Shakespeare's 'play within a play' questions the roles men and women should and could play in society.
Beginning with a two scene introduction, The Taming of the Shrew opens with a drunk man being thrown out of an alehouse. A lord takes him back to his home and gathers a group of actors to put on a play for the man, who is tricked into thinking he is a nobleman himself. This is where the main story begins.
Several young bachelors have gathered in Padua to try win over the wealthy Baptista Minola's youngest daughter Bianca. However Baptista won't let Bianca marry until his elder daughter Katherine has found a husband. No men are to enter the house to try date Bianca, but her tutors would still be allowed to enter.
Lucentio, a young man from Florence, is so taken by Bianca that he pretends to be a schoolmaster, instructing his servant to take on his identity. Meanwhile two other men, Gremio and Hortensio, also hopeful of marrying Bianca, plan to find Katherine a husband, which would allow them to pursue Bianca. Their problem is that Katherine is known to be very difficult to handle - a shrew.
Shortly, Petruchio arrives from Verona in search of a rich wife and Hortensio suggests Katherine. Not put off by her stubborn behaviour Petruchio sets out to win over Baptista's eldest daughter, and plans the wedding for the end of the week. After their marriage Petruchio 'tames' his wife by making her go without food, sleep and fancy clothes unless she fully obeys him.
Getting Bianca's hand in marriage becomes a battle of the disguises as the men all set themselves up as the 'perfect husband'. Lucentio's clever plans eventually win her heart and the pair are married.
At the end of the play Petruchio wins a bet that his wife is the most obedient after she makes a speech about a wife's duty to her husband. Ironically it seems Bianca and Hortensio's new wives have become more 'shrewish' than Katherine.
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