The Taming of the Shrew

Because The Taming of the Shrew deals with relationships between several different "courting" couples, it can capture the attention of adolescents. The lively comic plot and appealing characters make it an excellent introduction to Shakespeare. This guide includes a brief overview, suggestions for teaching the play, and extended learning activities.
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Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew

The Signet Classic edition of The Taming of the Shrew has several excellent annotated bibliographies related to Shakespeare, his times, his theater and the play.

Teaching Shakespeare

Davis, Ken. Rehearsing the Audience: Ways to Develop Student Perceptions of Theatre. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1988.
Edens, Walter et al. Teaching Shakespeare. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1977.
Epstein, Norrie. The Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard. NY: Viking, Penguin, 1993.
McMurtry, Jo. Understanding Shakespeare's England: A Companion for the American Reader. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1989.
Robinson, Randal. Unlocking Shakespeare's Language: Help for the Teacher and Student. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1988.
Southeastern Ohio Council of Teachers of English. "Teaching Shakespeare, II". Focus, Fall 1985.


Spolin, Viola. Improvisation for the Theatre: A Handbook of Directing Techniques. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1963.

Themes and Ideas in the Play

Commedia dell'arte

Barranger, Milly S. Theatre Past and Present: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1984.
Brockett, Oscar. History of the Theatre. 5th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1987.
Cheney, Sheldon. The Theatre: Three Thousand Years of Drama, Acting and Stagecraft. NY: Tudor, 1929.
Duchartre, Pierre Louis. The Italian Comedy. Trans. Randolph T. Weaver. 1929. New York, NY: Dover, 1966.
Lea, K.M. Italian Popular Comedy. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934. 2 volumes.
Rolfe, Bari. Commedia dell'arte: A Scene Study Book. Oakland, CA: Persona Books, 1977.


Berry, Edward. Shakespeare's Comic Rites. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984.
Chartier, Roger, ed. Passions of the Renaissance: A History of Private Life. Vol 3. Eds. Philippe Aries and Georges Duby. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard UP, 1987.
Cook, Ann Jennalie. Making a Match: Courtship in Shakespeare and His Society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1991.

The Role of Women in Elizabethan England

Hogrefe, Pearl. Tudor Women: Commoners and Queens. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State UP, 1975.
Women of Action in Tudor England. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State UP, 1977.
Jardine, Lisa. Still Harping on Daughters: Women and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare. Totowa, NJ: Barnes and Noble, 1983.
Prior, Mary, ed. Women in English Society: 1500-1800. New York: Methuen, 1985.
Rose, Mary Beth. Women in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: Literary and Historical Perspectives. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1986.

Interpretations of Kate

Boose, Lynda, E. "Scolding Brides and Bridling Scolds: Taming the Woman's Unruly Member." Shakespeare Quarterly 42 (Summer 1991): 179-213.
Deer, Harriet A. "Untyping Stereotypes: The Taming of the Shrew." The Aching Hearth: Family Violence in Life and Literature. Ed. Sarah Munson Deats and Lagretta Tallent Lenker. NY: Plenum, 1991. 63-78.
Holderness, Graham. Shakespeare in Performance: The Taming of the Shrew. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989.
Rutter, Carol. Clamorous Voices: Shakespeare's Women Today. London: The Women's Press, 1988.


Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Taming of the Shrew: A Comparative Study of Oral and Literary Versions. NY: Garland, 1991.

Other Literature Dealing with Themes in The Taming of the Shrew

Arranged Marriages in Other Times or Other Cultures

Buck, Pearl S. The Good Earth. Pocket, 1994. *
Emecheta, Buchi. The Bride Price. New York: George Braziller, 1976. ~
Lampman, Evelyn Sibley. Bargain Bride. An Aladdin Book. Atheneum, 1977. +
Staples, Suzanne Fisher. Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind. NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989. *
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. NY: Ivy Books; Ballantine, 1989. (see also The Kitchen God's Wife.)*
Turner, Ann. Third Girl from the Left. Macmillan, 1986. *

Relationships between Sisters

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. Signet Classic, 1983. *
Atkins, Dale V. Sisters. NY: Arbor House, 1984. *
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Signet Classic, 1961. *
Faber, Doris. Love and Rivalry. Viking, 1983. *
Fishel, Elizabeth. Sisters: Love and Rivalry Inside the Family and Beyond. NY: Morrow, 1979. *
Paterson, Katherine. Jacob Have I Loved. NY: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1980.*
Tharp, Louise Hall. The Peabody Sisters of Salem. 1950. NY: Book of the Month Club, 1977. ~
Voigt, Cynthia.D Dicey's Song. NY: Atheneum, 1982. +
Homecoming. NY: Atheneum, 1981. +

Queen Elizabeth I

Stolz, Mary. Bartholomew Fair. NY: Beech Tree Books, 1990.+
Luke, Mary M. A Crown for Elizabeth. NY: Coward-McCann, 1970.*
Gloriana: The Years of Elizabeth I. NY: Coward, McCannz, and Geoghegan, 1973. *

Dating, Peer Pressure

Blume, Judy. Forever. NY: Bradbury, 1975. +
Bridgers, Sue Ellen. Keeping Christina. NY: Harper & Row, 1993. *
Cormier, Robert. The Chocolate War. NY: Pantheon, 1974. *
Hamilton, Virginia. A White Romance. NY: Philomel, 1987. *
Mazer, Harry. The Girl of his Dreams. NY: Crowell, 1987. +
Mazer, Norma Fox. Up in Seth's Room. NY: Delacorte, 1979. +
Oneal, Zibby. In Summer Light. NY: Viking, 1985. *

Video and Audio Resources

The Taming of the Shrew. Two cassettes. Caedmon, 1990.
The Taming of the Shrew. 1929, 66 min. Directed by Sam Taylor. Starring Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.
The Taming of the Shrew. 1967, 126 min. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Kiss Me Kate. 1953, 109 min. Directed by George Sidney. Starring Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel.

Suggested Titles

PENGUIN USA's Signet Classic Shakespeare series never grows old. We offer the best of everything - unforgettable works edited by eminent Shakespeare scholars, comprehensive notes on the text, an essay on Shakespeare's life and times, source material, critical commentaries, extensive bibliographies, and footnotes. And there's more ...


•To grow with the times by including both historical and thoroughly contemporary critical commentary on such issues as feminist, political, and theatrical interpretations of the plays - with recent full-length essays by such respected scholars as Frank Kermode, Carolyn Heilbrun, Michael Goldman, Linda Bamber, and many others.
•To provide more bibliographic listings and more up-to-date and relevant listings of pertinent books and articles in the Suggested Reference Section than the competition offers.
•To feature essays on the performance or stage history of each play, written by Sylvan Barnet.


Henry IV, Part I, Edited by Maynard Mack
Henry IV, Part II, Edited by Norman Holland
Henry V, Edited by John Russell Brown
Henry VI, Parts I, II, & III, Edited by Lawrence V. Ryan, Arthur Freeman, and Milton Crane respectively
King John and Henry VIII, Edited by William Matchett and Samuel Schoenbaum respectively
Richard II, Edited by Kenneth Muir
Richard III, Edited by Mark Eccles


ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA Edited by Barbara Everett
CORIOLANUS Edited by Reuben Brower
FOUR GREAT TRAGEDIES (Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Othello)
HAMLET Edited by Edward Hubler
JULIUS CAESAR Edited by William and Barbara Rosen
KING LEAR Edited by Russell Fraser
MACBETH Edited by Sylvan Barnet
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Edited by Kenneth O. Myrick
OTHELLO Edited by Alvin Kernan
ROMEO AND JULIET Edited by Joseph Bryant
TITUS ANDRONICUS and TIMON OF ATHENS Edited by Sylvan Barnet and Maurice Charney respectively
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA Edited by Daniel Seltzer


All's Well that Ends Well, Edited by Sylvan Barnet
As You Like It, Edited by Albert Gilman
The Comedy of Errors, Edited by Harry Levin
Four Great Comedies (The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, The Tempest)
Love's Labor's Lost, Edited by John Arthos
Love's Labor's Lost, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, Edited by John Arthos, Bertrand Evans, and William Green respectively
Measure for Measure, Edited by S. Nagarajan
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Edited by Wolfgang Clemen
Much Ado About Nothing, Edited by David Stevenson
Pericles, Cymbeline, and The Two Noble Kinsmen, Edited by Ernest Schanzer, Richard Hosley, and Clifford Leach respectively
The Taming of the Shrew, Edited by Robert Heilman
The Tempest, Edited by Robert Langbaum
Twelfth Night, Edited by Herschel Clay Baker
The Winter's Tale, Edited by Frank Kermode


The Sonnets, Edited by William Burto
The Sonnets and Narrative Poems: The Complete Non-Dramatic Poetry, Edited by William Burto and William Empson
Stories from Shakespeare, Marchette Chute (Meridian)
Tales from Shakespeare, Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb
A Dictionary of Quotations from Shakespeare, Edited by Margaret Miner and Hugh Rawson (Signet)
Shakespeare: His Life, His Language, His Theater, S. Schoenbaum


Hamlet, Patti McWhorter
Julius Caesar, James R. Cope
MacBeth, Linda N. Underwood
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hazel Davis
Much Ado About Nothing, Jeanne M. McGlinn, Ph.D. and James E. McGlinn, Ed.D
Romeo and Juliet, Arthea J. S. Reed, Ph.D.
The Taming of the Shrew, Carol J. Luttner and Lauren McCammon
Teaching Ideas to Use with the Signet Classic Shakespeare Series, Arthea J.S. Reed, Ph.D.

Currently Associate Professor of English at Pellissippi State Technical Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee, Carol J. Luther has taught first and second year composition and literature at the college level for more than fifteen years. She received degrees in English from Emory and Henry College (B.A.), Vanderbilt University (M.A.), and Emory University (Ph.D.). In June of 1993 she was part of a delegation sponsored by the NCTE and People to People that visited schools in New Zealand and Australia to observe English teaching and meet with English teachers at levels from elementary school through college. Before teaching at Pellissippi, she taught at Hiwassee College, where she was also co-director of drama. Her appreciation of Shakespeare has been enhanced by working as an actress or co-director in Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Love's Labor's Lost, and Much Ado about Nothing. She has also worked professionally as an actress in outdoor drama and has been active in community theatre in acting and costuming.

For fifteen years Laura A. McCammon taught speech and drama and English for the Blount County Schools in Maryville, Tennessee. She has directed numerous plays (including The Taming of the Shrew) and musicals and coached winners of national, state, and regional awards in forensic and drama competitions. The Tennessee High School Speech and Drama League named her Outstanding Speech and Drama Educator in 1988. Several of her former students are now working in theatre, broadcasting, theatre and communication education, and related fields. She has worked both in professional and community theatre as a director and an actress. She received her B.A. and Ed.D. in Secondary Education from Arizona State University and her M.A. in Speech and Theatre from the University of Tennessee. She has twice won the American Alliance for Theatre and Education research award. Currently she is Assistant Professor of Secondary Education at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee.


W. Geiger (Guy) Ellis, Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia, Department of Language Education, received his A.B. and M.Ed. degrees from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and his Ed.D. from the University of Virginia. For over 15 years, Guy has been active in teaching adolescent literature in the classroom and in training future teachers in its use, lecturing and writing extensively on the subject. He developed and edited The ALAN Review from 1978 to 1984, changing its focus from a newsletter to a fully referred journal with an emphasis on articles with research and instructional significance. His research has had heavy emphasis on the content of literature instruction.

Currently Professor and Chairperson of Education at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, Arthea (Charlie) J. S. Reed has taught for 20 years on both the high school and college level. She received her A.B. (Bethany College) and her M.S. (Southern Connecticut State University) in English and her Ph.D. (Florida State University) in Teacher Education. In addition to teaching, Charlie was The ALAN Review (NCTE) editor from 1984 to 1990 and served as Co-Director of the Mountain Area Writing Project (a part of the National Writing Project) from 1982 to 1988. She is also the author of Reaching Adolescents: Young Adult Books and the Schools (Holt, 1985), Comics to Classics: A Guide to Books for Teens and Preteens (Penguin, 1994), and Point-Counterpoint: An Introduction to Education (Dushkin, 1991).

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