Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: The Taming of the Shrew
- When Written: Early 1590s
- Where Written: England
- When Published: 1623
- Literary Period: English Renaissance (also called the early modern era)
- Genre: Elizabethan Comedy
- Setting: The main action occurs in Padua, Italy and Petruchio's country home. (Though the main action is actually a play-within-a-play, and the frame of the play regarding Christopher Sly occurs at the home of an anonymous English lord.)
- Climax: There are multiple climaxes for the various plot-threads of the play. For Petruchio and Katherine, the climax comes when they are journeying to Padua and Petruchio makes her say that the sun is the moon, showing that he has achieved complete mastery over Katherine's wild nature. For the rest of the characters, it is in act five, scene one, when Lucentio's real father Vincentio confronts the merchant who was disguised as Vincentio at Lucentio's house in Padua. Lucentio is forced to reveal his true identity (and the identity of Tranio) to Baptista. All of the characters' various disguises are put aside, and Baptista and Vincentio approve of the marriage between the real Lucentio and Bianca.
- Antagonist: For Lucentio, the antagonists are all those who stand between him and Bianca: Hortensio, Gremio, and Baptista. Petruchio and Katherine may be said to be each other's antagonist, as Petruchio tries to tame her and she struggles against his abusive dominance.
Adapting the Shrew. The Taming of the Shrew has been prone to adaptations since the 17th century. In the early 1600s, John Fletcher wrote a sequel called The Tamer Tamed in which Petruchio is himself tamed by a new wife. In 1948, Cole Porter adapted Shakespeare's play into a musical comedy called Kiss Me, Kate. And in more recent years, the 1999 movie 10 Things I Hate About You moved Shakespeare's romantic comedy from Renaissance Italy to Padua High School, where characters scheme to take the sisters Kat and Bianca to the prom.