William Shakespeare - The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew (1593?) was first published in the First Folio in 1623. This comedy contrasts the prim and conventional Bianca, who grows willful and disobedient over the course of the play, with the shrewish Katherine, who is finally tamed by Petruchio, her suitor and, finally, husband. Yet Katherine and Petruchio are clearly well matched in style and temperament, and Katherine’s speech at the end on the importance of obedience may be delivered with an obvious sense of how far this is from what she believes or even from what Petruchio really wants. Kiss Me Kate (1948), a musical based on The Taming of the Shrew, proved popular on stage, as did a motion-picture version of William Shakespeare's play in 1953 with actors Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. However, unless the action is played with its possible ironies clearly apparent, audiences today will likely find the play’s ostensible values difficult to take, especially the belief in the need to tame a wife.