Synopses & Reviews
Renowned as Shakespeare's most boisterous comedy, The Taming of the Shrew is the tale of two young men, the hopeful Lucentio and the worldly Petruchio, and the two sisters they meet in Padua. Lucentio falls in love with Bianca, the apparently ideal younger daughter of the wealthy Baptista Minola. But before they can marry, Bianca's formidable elder sister, Katherine, must be wed. Petruchio, interested only in the huge dowry, arranges to marry Katherine -against her will- and enters into a battle of the sexes that has endured as one of Shakespeare's most enjoyable works.Lucentio loves Bianca but cannot court her until her shrewish older sister Katherina marries. The eccentric Petruccio marries the reluctant Katherina and uses a number of tactics to render her an obedient wife. Lucentio marries Bianca and, in a contest at the end, Katherina proves to be the most obedient wife. Before an alehouse on a heath. Enter Hostess and SLY]SLYI'll pheeze you, in faith.HostessA pair of stocks, you rogue SLYYe are a baggage: the Slys are no rogues; look in the chronicles; we came in with Richard Conqueror. Therefore paucas pallabris; let the world slide: sessa HostessYou will not pay for the glasses you have burst?SLYNo, not a denier. Go by, Jeronimy: go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.HostessI know my remedy; I must go fetch the third-borough. Exit]SLYThird, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him by law: I'll not budge an inch, boy: let him come, and kindly.Falls asleepHorns winded. Enter a Lord from hunting, with his trainLordHuntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds: Brach Merriman, the poor cur is emboss'd; And couple Clowder with the deep-mouth'd brach. Saw'st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good At the hedge-corner, in the coldest fault? I would not lose the dog for twenty pound.First HuntsmanWhy, Belman is as good as he, my lord; He cried upon it at the merest loss And twice to-day pick'd out the dullest scent: Trust me, I take him for the better dog.LordThou 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: To-morrow I intend to hunt again.First HuntsmanI will, my lord.LordWhat's here? one dead, or drunk? See, doth he breathe?Second HuntsmanHe breathes, my lord. Were he not warm'd with ale, This were a bed but cold to sleep so soundly.LordO monstrous beast how like a swine he lies Grim death, how foul and loathsome is thine image Sirs, I will practise on this drunken man. What think you, if he were convey'd to bed, Wrapp'd in sweet clothes, rings put upon his fingers, A most delicious banquet by his bed, And brave attendants near him when he wakes, Would not the beggar then forget himself?First HuntsmanBelieve me, lord, I think he cannot choose.Second HuntsmanIt would seem strange unto him when he waked.LordEven as a flattering dream or worthless fancy. Then take him up and manage well the jest: Carry him gently to my fairest chamber And hang it round with all my wanton pictures: Balm his foul head in warm distilled 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 And with a low submissive reverence Say 'What is it your honour will command?' Let one attend him with a silver basin Full of rose-water and bestrew'd with flowers, Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper, And say 'Will't please your lordship cool your hands?' Some one be ready with a costly suit And ask him what apparel he will wear; Another tell him of his hounds and horse, 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.