The Taming of the Shrew is a comic play written by William Shakespeare around 1590 and first published in 1898. Read The Taming of the Shrew here, with side-by-side No Fear translations into modern English.
A lord brings home Sly who passed out in an alehouse. As a joke, he instructs everyone to treat him as a lord, and tells a pageboy to pretend to be Sly's wife and insist he has been insane for seven years.
The lord dresses up as a servant, and when Sly wakes everyone convinces him he is the master of the house. Actors put on the play that follows.
Lucentio secretly falls in love with Bianca, but her father says that her sister Katherine must be married first. Lucentio plans to disguise himself as a tutor for Bianca to woo her, while her two suitors try and find a man for Katherine.
Hortensio convinces his friend Petruchio to marry Katherine for her money, while he will disguise himself as a schoolmaster. Lucentio arrives with Gremio as the schoolmaster, and his servant Tranio arrives disguised as Lucentio to court Bianca.
Baptista accepts the disguised Hortensio (Litio) and Lucentio (Cambio) as tutors, as well as Petruchio's offer to marry Katherine. Petruchio and Katherine have a verbal duel, but when Petruchio announces that they will marry Sunday, Katherine doesn't resist, and Baptista promises Bianca to Tranio (disguised as Lucentio).
Hortensio and Lucentio each tutor Bianca and try to woo her. Lucentio is playful and confident, while Hortensio is desperate and pathetic, and Bianca clearly prefers Lucentio.
Petruchio makes a huge, embarrassing scene at his wedding, but he completes it and whisks Kate off against her will. Lucentio and Tranio decide it would be easier for Lucentio to elope with Bianca instead of finding a fake father for "Lucentio" (Tranio) to fool Baptista.
Petruchio and Katherine arrive at Petruchio’s summer house after a difficult journey. Petruchio has a fit over everything the servants do, all in an effort to be so outrageous that he will tame Kate’s own difficult nature.
Tranio (as Lucentio) tricks Hortensio into giving up on Bianca. Tranio tricks a schoolmaster from Mantua into posing as his father, Vincentio, in exchange for “protection.”
After Petruchio finally allows Kate to eat, his tailor presents elegant clothes for their journey to Baptista, but Petruchio criticizes and rejects what Kate likes.
The fake Vincentio convinces Baptista that he is Lucentio's (Tranio's) father, and Baptista tells Biondello to have Lucentio bring Bianca to dinner. Biondello has arranged a priest so that Lucentio and Bianca can elope.
Petruchio continues trying to tame Kate by contradicting her, and finally she plays along. They meet the real Vincentio, and realizing that Bianca and Lucentio's marriage will make Vincentio father-in-law to Petruchio, they all continue to Baptista.
The real Vincentio runs into the meeting between Baptista and the fake Vincentio, confusing everyone until the real Lucentio returns from his marriage to Bianca, and is forced to explain the whole thing. Kate obliges to kiss Petruchio in the street, finally resolving their conflict.
During a banquet to celebrate the three marriages, the men tease Petruchio about marrying a shrew, but he responds with a challenge to see who has the most obedient wife. He wins when Kate obeys him immediately.
Understanding the Bard is hard, but the No Fear Shakespeare guide for The Taming of the Shrew makes it easy!