illustration of Kate and Petruchio standing and staring at one another

The Taming of the Shrew

by William Shakespeare

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I need a summary of The Taming of the Shrew.

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We have two sisters, Katherine and Bianca.  Both are beautiful and very wealthy, but Bianca is considered more lovely as she is also kind and obedient.  Katherine is the older, and being unmarried and feeling as though everyone favors her sister, she is understandably grumpy.  Hence, she has the nickname "shrew".  Bianca has many suitors, but Katherine has none.  It is customary for the older daughter to marry first.  So, one of the suitors of Bianca "hires" Petruchio to woo Katherine.  Petruchio is in need of money--both that he gets from his friend and that he gets from the marriage, so he agrees to "tame" Katherine and marry her.  The rest of the play focuses on marriage themes--those suitors of Bianca, Petruchio, and others.  In the end, there are three marriages which are celebrated and the true shrew turns out to be Bianca and the widow, not Katherine.  Each of the men of the wedding celebration takes a bet that his wife will come first when summoned.  Kate is the only one who comes--Bianca and the widow refuse stating they are too busy.  Kate gives a great speech at the end about how a wife should bow down to her husband and even give him her hand to stomp on if he wishes it.  She and Petruchio win a bet as a result since she is the "tame" one who answered her husband's calling.  Some say she was truly tamed while others argue that it was all just a big joke the two play on the audience since they are the only couple who find true love.

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