The Taming of the Shrew minimized

Lucentio, a well-heeled, high-energy young man from Pisa has arrived in Padua with plans to study the “happiness branch of philosophy.”  His more pragmatic servant, Tranio, suggests he “study what you most like.” Baptista Minola has two daughters, Katherine and Bianca, Bianca the younger.  Young men pay a lot of attention to Bianca. Katherine is extraordinarily jealous.

1. Soon after the play opens, Lucentio sees Bianca and instantly falls for her. Baptista tells all that Katherine must be the first to marry. Bianca says she’ll pay attention to “my books and instruments.” Hortensio has been wooing Bianca. He hears what her father says as does Lucentio.  Lucentio and Hortensio independently plan to disguise themselves as teachers. Hortensio’s charismatic friend Petruchio arrives, looking to “wive wealthily in Padua.” Hortensio tells him he has in mind the right young lady for him: Katherine Minola.

2. Katherine and Bianca fuss with each other at home. Baptista hires Lucentio and Hortensio as Bianca’s teachers, both by now disguised. Petruchio woos Katherine. She likes the attention. Baptista likes Petruchio; Katherine accepts him; a wedding is planned. Baptista says the suitor who offers the best dower wins Bianca, but that the winning suitor’s father must assure him that the dower is covered.

3. Disguised Hortensio and Lucentio make feverish plays for Bianca. Petruchio is no where to be found, the Minola family having gathered for Katherine’s wedding. He shows up for the wedding late, poorly dressed, on a broken-down horse. It’s reported his deportment was terrible during the wedding.  He abruptly leaves after the ceremony, taking his wife with him.

4. At his country home, Petruchio works to tame Katherine. He denies her food and sleep and is generally obnoxious. Hortensio gives up hope of winning Bianca. He marries the Widow. Tranio meets a merchant who agrees to play the role of Lucentio’s father, Vincentio of Pisa. The merchant convinces Baptista that he has the dower promised Bianca. Baptista accepts Lucentio as a prospective son-in-law. Lucentio and Bianca elope. Katherine has by now “been Kated.” Petruchio and Katherine meet the real Vincentio; the three travel together to Padua.

5. All are at the Minola home. Gremio, a former suitor to Bianca, calms all, explains all, with a style Shakespeare can so smoothly deliver. Petruchio has a “tamed” Katherine tell Bianca and the Widow “what duty they owe their husbands.”  All are left speechless. 

Copyright © 2010 Minimzed Shakespeare

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