Scene i. Christopher Sly, drunk, refuses to pay his account.
He falls asleep. A Lord decides to take him home and play a trick on him;
when he wakes he will be treated as the Lord of the house, while a page
pretends to be his wife. Some travelling actors arrive and are brought
into the game.
Scene ii. Sly is treated accordingly, and told he has been mad for 15 years. His 'wife' rejoices at his recovery but refuses to sleep with him for a few days yet when he becomes amorous. He is led off to watch a play performed by the actors.
Scene i. Lucentio and his servant Tranio arrive in Padua from
Pisa. Baptista and his two daughters Katherina and Bianca pass, pursued
by Gremio (a fool) and Hortensio who love Bianca. He tells them that she
cannot marry until Katherina has a husband. Katherina speaks outrageously.
Meanwhile he intends to hire tutors for Bianca. Luciano falls in love with
Bianca, decides to become her schoolmaster. He and Tranio will exchange
names and roles. (Sly watching the play is bored.)
Scene ii. Petruchio and his servant arrive in Padua from Verona, planning to visit Hortensio. They fight and Hortensio calms them. Petruchio says he wants a rich wife, Hortensio offers to marry him to Katherina, although he tells him of her reputation. Petruchio is not impressed; Hortensio plans to enter the house as a schoolmaster for Bianca introduced by Petruchio. Lucentio (disguised) has met Gremio, who plans to introduce him as a schoolmaster for Bianca so that he can speak to her on his behalf. Gremio is glad to hear of Petruchio's readiness to woo Katherine. Tranio (disguised as rich Lucentio) comes declaring his intention of wooing Bianca.
Scene i. Katherina has tied Bianca's hands and is trying to find out which suitor she prefers, apparently envious. The three suitors (Luciano and Hortensio as schoolmasters, Tranio as his master Lucentio) come in with Gremio and Petruchio. Petruchio presents his suit, the others are introduced to Baptista, who sends the two schoolmasters to his daughters. He warns Petruchio of Katherine, he minimizes the problem. Hortensio comes in, Katherine has broken a lute on his head. Petruchio prepares to meet her. Petruchio woos her by the name of Kate and they embark on a display of sharp wit which Petruchio hails as gentleness. Petruchio tells Baptista that the reports were wrong and that he will marry Katherine on Sunday. When she insults him, he says they have agreed to pretend to quarrel. He leaves for Venice until the ceremony. Tranio and Gremio begin to quarrel over Bianca, competing over the dower. Tranio offers more than Gremio can, but Baptista insists on having guarantees from his father or else will prefer Gremio. Tranio decides to get himself a false father.
Scene i. Lucentio and Hortensio quarrel over Bianca, she tells
them not to; Lucentio gives a mock Latin lesson in which he tells her about
himself while Hortensio is tuning his lute. Bianca responds positively
to Lucentio. Lucentio guesses that Hortensio is a disguised suitor. Hortensio
tells her about himself in a mock music lesson but Bianca responds negatively.
Hortensio suspects Lucentio.
Scene ii. The wedding day but no Petruchio. Biondello (servant) announces that he is coming in very odd clothes, riding a broken-backed horse, with a servant in rags. He arrives. Baptista asks him to change but he refuses. Tranio explains the situation to Lucentio, who would like to marry Bianca in secret. Gremio describes the crazy wedding. They return from church and Petruchio announces that they are leaving without eating. Kate resists but Petruchio affirms his rights over her and forces her to leave.
Scene i. Grumio comes in frozen and talks with Curtis to check
if things are ready. He tells of how Katherine's horse fell in the mud.
Petruchio comes in cursing the servants. When the food is brought in, he
says it is burnt and throws it at them. Kate tries to calm him (she is
hungry). Petruchio takes her to her room, talks about continence (no sex),
then returns to outline his strategy : no food and no sleep.
Scene ii. Hortensio realizes that he has no hope with Bianca, thanks to Tranio's trickery, and withdraws to marry a wealthy widow. Biondello sees someone coming who could be presented as Lucentio's father. He and Tranio ('Lucentio') tell this Pedant from Mantua that his life is in danger, and suggest he pretend to be Lucentio's father Vincentio from Pisa.
Scene iii. Katherine complains to Grumio of hunger and lack of sleep. Grumio plays the same game as his master. Petruchio brings food and forces her to thank him. He announces a visit to her father's and calls people to bring clothes for her, but then rejects them although she likes them. The tailor and Grumio quarrel. Petruchio decides they will go in their old clothes.
Scene iv. The arrangements are made for the contract to be signed between Baptista and the fake father of the fake Lucentio; Biondello tells the real Lucentio to take Bianca to church and marry her.
Scene v. The journey of Petruchio with Katherine, where he obliges her to agree with all he says, although it is nonsense. They meet Lucentio's (real) father on his way to pay his son a surprise visit; Katherine is forced to greet him as a young girl. Petruchio tells him that Lucentio has married Bianca (but how does he know?!).
Scene i. The lovers leave to get married. Petruchio etc arrive
at Lucentio's house, are greeted from a window by the false Vincentio (Pedant)
who insists he is Lucentio's father; Petruchio accuses the true father
of being dishonest. Biondello enters, sees no way but to deny the true
father, his former master; Vincentio beats him, they say he is mad; Tranio
enters and is recognized by Vincentio. Tranio and the Pedant claim to be
the true son and father, Vincentio is about to be arrested when Lucentio
and Bianca return. Lucentio kneels to his true father and admits to his
marriage. All is made clear and although the fathers are angry, Lucentio
is confident. Petruchio asks Katherine to kiss him, she refuses until he
threatens to go back home. They kiss.
Scene ii. A banquet for the wedding of Lucentio and Bianca, with Hortensio and his widow, Petruchio and Katherine. Joking dialogue in which the widow assumes Katherine is still a shrew. The women withdraw and the men discuss which of their brides is the worst shrew and least obedient; both the others assume that Katherine is, but Petruchio says not so. Bets are laid. Luciano and Hortensio send for their wives to come, both refuse. Katherine, sent for, arrives at once. Petruchio sends her to bring the other two. Petruchio tells her to take off her hat and throw it on the ground, she obeys. The other two women protest, Lucentio gets angry. Petruchio tells Katherine to teach the others their duties. Katherine's famous speech on a wife's duty. Petruchio and Katherine leave for their wedding bed.