The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Is The Taming of the Shrew misogynistic? What might constitute a feminist interpretation of the play?

  2. 2

    Trace the motif of the disguise throughout the play. Consider, in particular, the issue of willful disguise v. unwitting disguise (i.e. Sly v. Tranio). Can both be considered "acting"?

  3. 3

    Why the Induction? Examine the ways in which the story of Christopher Sly continues to permeate through the play-within-a-play. Are we meant to view Sly as a reflection of ourselves?

  4. 4

    Analyze the famous battle of wits between Petruchio and Katharina when they first meet. Consider the role that language plays in their rapport. Is their use of language straightforward or ambiguous, honest or duplicitous, or all of these things?

  5. 5

    In what sense can The Taming of the Shrew be viewed as a morality play? What have the various characters learned by the end? Have they learned anything at all? Focusing in particular on the final banquet scene, examine the possibility that a moral framework, grounded in the evolution of character, governs Shakespeare's narrative.

  6. 6

    Discuss the issue of class in the play. Consider the possibility that Tranio may play the role of nobleman better than his master does.

  7. 7

    Analyze the juxtaposition in tone and space of the two plot strands in Act IV. What is Shakespeare saying about city v. country, courtship v. marriage, love v. contempt?

  8. 8

    Compare Tranio and Grumio, the two most prominent servants in the play. One gets to don a disguise, the other does not. In what ways are the characters similar, in what ways are they different? Most importantly, to what extent does each of them reflect his master?

  9. 9

    Analyze Katharina's final monologue. What is she thinking, what is Shakespeare thinking, and what are we meant to think? Compare it to Lucentio's opening speech.

  10. 10

    Discuss the role that money plays in the narrative. Consider Petruchio and Baptista in particular.