List iconThe Taming of the ShrewList icon

The Taming of the Shrew
Induction, scene 1

Synopsis:

Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

The Taming of the Shrew begins with an “induction” in which a nobleman plays a trick on a beggar, Christopher Sly,…

Induction, scene 1

Christopher Sly, a drunken beggar, is driven out of an alehouse by its hostess. A great lord, returning from the…

Induction, scene 2

The newly awakened Sly is offered delicacies and fine clothes. When he demands his usual ale and beef, the lord…

Act 1, scene 1

Lucentio has come with his servant Tranio to Padua to study philosophy. They witness an encounter between Baptista and his…

Act 1, scene 2

Petruchio, with his servant Grumio, has just arrived in Padua. His friend Hortensio suggests that Petruchio woo Katherine. Petruchio enthusiastically…

Act 2, scene 1

Baptista stops Katherine from abusing Bianca and receives a visit from Petruchio, who presents Hortensio (disguised as Litio, a music…

Act 3, scene 1

Under cover of their disguises as schoolmasters, first Lucentio (as Cambio) and then Hortensio (as Litio) try for Bianca’s love….

Act 3, scene 2

Petruchio is late arriving for his wedding, to Katherine’s great embarrassment. When he finally presents himself, he is dressed in…

Act 4, scene 1

At Petruchio’s house in the country, Grumio tells his fellow servant Curtis about the wild journey home to Petruchio’s after…

Act 4, scene 2

In Padua, Hortensio (as Litio) leads Tranio (as Lucentio) to spy on Bianca and Lucentio-Cambio as the couple kiss and…

Act 4, scene 3

At Petruchio’s home, Grumio torments Katherine by promising her food that he fails to bring. Petruchio then serves Katherine himself,…

Act 4, scene 4

In Padua, the Merchant impersonating Vincentio visits Baptista with Tranio, who is still disguised as Lucentio. Baptista accepts the Merchant’s…

Act 4, scene 5

Katherine now gives assent to every word Petruchio says. On their way to her father’s, they meet the true Vincentio,…

Act 5, scene 1

After Bianca has secretly married Lucentio, Petruchio, Katherine, and Lucentio’s father arrive at Lucentio’s lodging. They are rebuffed by the…

Act 5, scene 2

Three couples attend the wedding banquet—Lucentio and Bianca, Petruchio and Katherine, and Hortensio and the Widow. Petruchio is repeatedly teased…

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Scene 1
Enter Beggar (Christopher Sly) and Hostess.

SLY I’ll feeze you, in faith.
HOSTESS A pair of stocks, you rogue!
SLY You’re a baggage! The Slys are no rogues. Look
 in the chronicles. We came in with Richard Conqueror.
5 Therefore, paucas pallabris, let the world
 slide. Sessa!
HOSTESS You will not pay for the glasses you have
 burst?
SLY No, not a denier. Go, by Saint Jeronimy! Go to
10 thy cold bed and warm thee.He lies down.
HOSTESS I know my remedy. I must go fetch the
 headborough.She exits.
SLY Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I’ll answer him
 by law. I’ll not budge an inch, boy. Let him come,
15 and kindly.Falls asleep.

Wind horns within. Enter a Lord from hunting, with
his train.


LORD 
 Huntsman, I charge thee tender well my hounds.
 Breathe Merriman (the poor cur is embossed)
 And couple Clowder with the deep-mouthed brach.
 Saw’st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good
20 At the hedge corner, in the coldest fault?
 I would not lose the dog for twenty pound!
7

9
The Taming of the Shrew
IND. SC. 1

FIRST HUNTSMAN 
 Why, Bellman is as good as he, my lord.
 He cried upon it at the merest loss,
 And twice today picked out the dullest scent.
25 Trust me, I take him for the better dog.
LORD 
 Thou art a fool. If Echo were as fleet,
 I would esteem him worth a dozen such.
 But sup them well, and look unto them all.
 Tomorrow I intend to hunt again.
FIRST HUNTSMAN 30I will, my lord.
First Huntsman exits.
LORD, noticing Sly 
 What’s here? One dead, or drunk? See doth he
 breathe.
SECOND HUNTSMAN 
 He breathes, my lord. Were he not warmed with ale,
 This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly.
LORD 
35 O monstrous beast, how like a swine he lies!
 Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine image!
 Sirs, I will practice on this drunken man.
 What think you, if he were conveyed to bed,
 Wrapped in sweet clothes, rings put upon his
40 fingers,
 A most delicious banquet by his bed,
 And brave attendants near him when he wakes,
 Would not the beggar then forget himself?
THIRD HUNTSMAN 
 Believe me, lord, I think he cannot choose.
SECOND HUNTSMAN 
45 It would seem strange unto him when he waked.
LORD 
 Even as a flatt’ring dream or worthless fancy.
 Then take him up, and manage well the jest.

11
The Taming of the Shrew
IND. SC. 1

 Carry him gently to my fairest chamber,
 And hang it round with all my wanton pictures;
50 Balm his foul head in warm distillèd waters,
 And burn sweet wood to make the lodging sweet;
 Procure me music ready when he wakes
 To make a dulcet and a heavenly sound.
 And if he chance to speak, be ready straight
55 And, with a low, submissive reverence,
 Say “What is it your Honor will command?”
 Let one attend him with a silver basin
 Full of rosewater and bestrewed with flowers,
 Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper,
60 And say “Will ’t please your Lordship cool your
 hands?”
 Someone be ready with a costly suit,
 And ask him what apparel he will wear.
 Another tell him of his hounds and horse,
65 And that his lady mourns at his disease.
 Persuade him that he hath been lunatic,
 And when he says he is, say that he dreams,
 For he is nothing but a mighty lord.
 This do, and do it kindly, gentle sirs.
70 It will be pastime passing excellent
 If it be husbanded with modesty.
THIRD HUNTSMAN 
 My lord, I warrant you we will play our part
 As he shall think by our true diligence
 He is no less than what we say he is.
LORD 
75 Take him up gently, and to bed with him,
 And each one to his office when he wakes.
Sly is carried out.
Sound trumpets within.
 Sirrah, go see what trumpet ’tis that sounds.
Servingman exits.

13
The Taming of the Shrew
IND. SC. 1

 Belike some noble gentleman that means
 (Traveling some journey) to repose him here.

Enter Servingman.

80 How now? Who is it?
SERVINGMAN  An ’t please your Honor, players
 That offer service to your Lordship.
LORD 
 Bid them come near.

Enter Players.

 Now, fellows, you are welcome.
PLAYERS 85We thank your Honor.
LORD 
 Do you intend to stay with me tonight?
FIRST PLAYER 
 So please your Lordship to accept our duty.
LORD 
 With all my heart. This fellow I remember
 Since once he played a farmer’s eldest son.—
90 ’Twas where you wooed the gentlewoman so well.
 I have forgot your name, but sure that part
 Was aptly fitted and naturally performed.
SECOND PLAYER 
 I think ’twas Soto that your Honor means.
LORD 
 ’Tis very true. Thou didst it excellent.
95 Well, you are come to me in happy time,
 The rather for I have some sport in hand
 Wherein your cunning can assist me much.
 There is a lord will hear you play tonight;
 But I am doubtful of your modesties,
100 Lest, over-eying of his odd behavior
 (For yet his Honor never heard a play),
 You break into some merry passion,
 And so offend him. For I tell you, sirs,
 If you should smile, he grows impatient.

15
The Taming of the Shrew
IND. SC. 1

FIRST PLAYER 
105 Fear not, my lord, we can contain ourselves
 Were he the veriest antic in the world.
LORD, to a Servingman 
 Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery
 And give them friendly welcome every one.
 Let them want nothing that my house affords.
One exits with the Players.
110 Sirrah, go you to Bartholomew, my page,
 And see him dressed in all suits like a lady.
 That done, conduct him to the drunkard’s chamber,
 And call him “Madam,” do him obeisance.
 Tell him from me, as he will win my love,
115 He bear himself with honorable action,
 Such as he hath observed in noble ladies
 Unto their lords, by them accomplishèd.
 Such duty to the drunkard let him do
 With soft low tongue and lowly courtesy,
120 And say “What is ’t your Honor will command,
 Wherein your lady and your humble wife
 May show her duty and make known her love?”
 And then with kind embracements, tempting kisses,
 And with declining head into his bosom,
125 Bid him shed tears, as being overjoyed
 To see her noble lord restored to health,
 Who, for this seven years, hath esteemed him
 No better than a poor and loathsome beggar.
 And if the boy have not a woman’s gift
130 To rain a shower of commanded tears,
 An onion will do well for such a shift,
 Which (in a napkin being close conveyed)
 Shall in despite enforce a watery eye.
 See this dispatched with all the haste thou canst.
135 Anon I’ll give thee more instructions.
A Servingman exits.
 I know the boy will well usurp the grace,

17
The Taming of the Shrew
IND. SC. 2

 Voice, gait, and action of a gentlewoman.
 I long to hear him call the drunkard “husband”!
 And how my men will stay themselves from
140 laughter
 When they do homage to this simple peasant,
 I’ll in to counsel them. Haply my presence
 May well abate the over-merry spleen
 Which otherwise would grow into extremes.
They exit.