Act 1 – Taming of The Shrew Study Guide

Induction:
1.) What trick is played upon Christopher Sly? Why?
In the beginning of the INDUCTION, Christopher falls asleep drunk in front of a tavern. A Lord returning from hunting finds Sly and has his servants take Sly to his manor, dress him up, and when he awakens, treat him as a lord.
Induction:
2.) Why is The Taming of the Shrew considered a play within a play?
The characters in the Induction sit down to watch a play, which consists of a main plot and a complex subplot. This constitutes nearly the whole 5 acts of the play, and is a common Shakespearean device.
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3.) Why has Lucentio come to Padua?
Lucentio, a rich young man, comes to Padua w/ his servants, Tranio and Biondello, to attend the local university. He is very excited to start his studies. However, he veers off course, and puts Bianca in his sights.
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4.) Of what is Baptista resolved concerning the marriage of his two daughters?
Baptista will not give away his younger daughter before his older daughter (Katherina), the shrew, is wedded herself.
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5.) What is Katherine’s reputation? What is Bianca’s reputation?
Katherina is a “shrew”, which is Middle English slang that is synonymous with a woman who is loud, unmanageable and bad tempered. Bianca is the sweet, innocent victim of her sister’s spiteful abuses.
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6.) What is Hortensio’s plan to more quickly be able to win and marry Bianca?
Hortensio is a very important character and I’ll spend a few moments more on this. He is Petruchio’s best friend and sort of wingman. He is in love with Bianca and dresses up like a tutor, “Licio”, to get closer to her. Hortensio really doesn’t stand a chance – Bianca’s interested in Lucentio. When he gets fed up with what he sees as Bianca’s “loose” behavior, he decides to marry the Widow. To do this, he runs off to Petruchio’s “taming school,” where he hopes to learn how to keep his more experienced lady in line. Problem is, Hortensio really doesn’t learn how to tame anything and the Widow ends up playing the dominant role in their relationship after they get married.
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7.) What is Tranio’s plan for Lucentio? What metamorphosis does this involve?
Tranio gives all kind of advice that is key to the play. He is also indulgent and agrees to traipse around town pretending to be Lucentio so that the real Lucentio can run around as the tutor “Cambio” while he pursues Bianca.
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8. What is Petruchio’s motive in coming to Padua?
Petruchio is looking for a rich wife. Preferably one with a rich family.
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9. How are Katherine’s and Bianca’s reputations further clarified? What words/phrases are used to describe both women throughout the scene?
Bianca’s personality fuels to Kate’s rebellious fire. On the outside, Bianca is perceived as a sweet, mild tempered young woman; a “young modest girl,” Lucentio calls her. However, in reality, she is a vigilant and sneaky sister.
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10. What does Petruchio’s monologue (I. 197-208) reveal about him?-
This monologue reveals that Petruchio is determined and has a blunt attitude. He will, in no way, let Katherine get on to him. If she is a shrew, he will be a bigger one, it’s like ying and yang.(katherine’s character turns around because Petruchio become inhumanly “shrewish”. eg. saying the the sun is the moon, and that Vin. is a young lady)
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11. What is the suitors’ (Gremio and Hortensio) reaction to Lucentio joining them as rivals to Bianca?
The suitors are flabbergasted and not at all happy. They feel as though they now has a less of a chance of “winning over” Bianca.
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13. At the end of Act 1, why are Bianca’s suitors friendly with one another and indebted to Petruchio?
If Petruchio marries Katherine, the more desirable and younger Bianca will be allowed to marry by her father. Tradition hold that the elder daughter must marry first.
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14. What role do the servants play?
Servants in Shakespeare plays are almost always a form of comedy.