Shakespeare's Sources

The creation of taming of the shrew:)


Research the source Shakespeare's used for the Taming of The Shrew. What were some of the sources he probably pulled from to create this story? What alterations did he make? Share your findings with the class.

The Sources

  • The Taming of the Shrew can be traced to a variety of sources. The primary plot, the story of Katherine and Petruchio, finds its roots in folk tales and songs common in Shakespeare's day. Shakespeare was surrounded by a very public debate over the nature of women, including specific arguments on a woman's duty and role in marriage when he was younger. Shakespeare drew heavily from this debate.
  • The Bianca subplot has sources with which Shakespeare would have been familiar. The Bianca subplot comes from George Gascoigne's Supposes, a translation of Ariosto's I Suppositi
-The induction scene was a general way to start off plays during Shakespeare's time.
  • Richard Hosley suggested that the main source was from A Merry Jest of a Shrewde and Curste Wyfe, Lapped in Morrell's Skin, for Her Good Behavyour. (The story is about a headstrong woman who is frustrated because her father seems to love her sister more than her. Due to her obstinacy, the father marries her to a man who vows to tame her, despite her objections. The man takes her to his house, and begins the taming. Ultimately, the couple return to the father's house, where she lectures her sister on the merits of being an obedient wife.)

Alterations He Did!

In Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, the 'taming' is much more suddle and almost like a mind game. In A Merry Jest of a Shrewde and Curste Wyfe, Lapped in Morrell's Skin, for Her Good Behavyour the 'taming' is much more physical than in Shakespeare's. The shrew in this story is beaten with birch rods until she bleeds, and is also wrapped in the flesh of a plough horse (the Morel of the title) which was killed specially for the occasion.