illustration of Kate and Petruchio standing and staring at one another

The Taming of the Shrew

by William Shakespeare

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Act I, Scene 1 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Under what special circumstances does Act One begin?

2. Where do Lucentio and Tranio arrive in the first scene, and why have they come to this town?

3. Whom do Lucentio and Tranio witness quarreling?

4. Why will Baptista not give away Bianca at present?

5. How does Katharina treat the suitors of Bianca?

6. What scheme does Hortensio concoct in order to marry Bianca?

7. With whom has Lucentio fallen in love?

8. How does Lucentio intend to woo Bianca?

9. What is Tranio’s role in Lucentio’s plan?

10. How does Sly like the play so far?

1. Act One begins with Sly and his “wife” sitting above the stage in a loft, so as to view the play the Lord has prepared as entertainment for Sly.

2. They arrive in Padua, a city famous for its university. Lucentio has come to study philosophy.

3. They see two suitors, Gremio and Hortensio, speaking with Baptista and Katharina. Bianca speaks only four lines.

4. Baptista knows that if he does not marry off Katharina before Bianca, he will have to spend the rest of his days listening to her sharp tongue. He uses Bianca as leverage to send away Katharina as soon as possible.

5. Katharina returns the insults of Gremio and Hortensio, and goads them.

6. Hortensio enlists Gremio to find a suitable man to marry Katharina, despite Gremio’s disbelief that such a man exists. Hortensio thinks that some man, desiring her rich dowry, will marry her.

7. Lucentio has fallen in love at first sight with Bianca; he has hardly noticed Katharina.

8. Lucentio plans to dress himself as a schoolmaster in order to be introduced into Bianca’s presence, where he intends to make covert overtures for her affection.

9. Lucentio asks Tranio to dress as his master so that the people of the town will still know that Lucentio has arrived.

10. Sly probably does not appreciate the play, for he has fallen asleep. Servants have roused him so that he will watch the rest.

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Act I, Scene 2 Questions and Answers