The Taming of the Shrew


Introduction

This comedy was likely written between 1590 and 1591. (See Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor in The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works (2nd edition, 2005).)

The play follows the wooing of two rich, young, and beautiful sisters from Padua: the “shrewish” Katherine by the equally ornery Petruchio and the milder-tempered Bianca by a number of suitors. Eventually Petruchio marries and successfully “tames” Katherine, and Lucentio marries Bianca.


Textual References to Dance

Text excerpts and their act, scene, and line numbers follow Folger Digital Texts unless otherwise noted.

Act I, scene 2, 66-77

PETRUCHIO: Signior Hortensio, ’twixt such friends as we
Few words suffice. And therefore, if thou know
One rich enough to be Petruchio’s wife
(As wealth is burden of my wooing dance),
Be she as foul as was Florentius’ love,
As old as Sibyl, and as curst and shrewd
As Socrates’ Xanthippe, or a worse,
She moves me not, or not removes at least
Affection’s edge in me, were she as rough
As are the swelling Adriatic seas.
I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
If wealthily, then happily in Padua.

Act II, scene 1, lines 34-39

KATHERINE: What, will you not suffer me? Nay, now I see
She is your treasure, she must have a husband,
I must dance barefoot on her wedding day
And, for your love to her, lead apes in hell.
Talk not to me. I will go sit and weep
Till I can find occasion of revenge.

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