RQ: Shrew Introduction & Induction



Keep the following questions in mind as you read Barbara Hodgdon’s Introduction (1-38) and the Induction of Taming of the Shrew. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.


According to the Introduction, what genre is Taming of the Shrew?

How does the play adapt contemporary events and literary forms?

1967 RSC Shrew Poster

How does the play draw attention to the early modern English stage practice of all male casts?

What is the relationship between The Taming of a Shrew (1594) and The Taming of the Shrew (F1 1623)? When were the plays first performed? Where were the plays first performed? (see esp. page 20 where Hodgdon lays out the three theories of the text: 1. Shakespeare copied/adapted ‘A Shrew‘ or he wrote both; 2. the ur-Shrew theory; 3. Memorial reconstruction).

How have editors resolved the problem of the two texts?

What’s a conflated edition of a text?

Nicholas Rowe

Who is Shakespeare’s editor? How have editors over the centuries shaped Shakespeare’s plays?

What does “induction” mean (23)?

What is Barbara Hogdgon’s (and by extension the edition we are reading) final word on the relationship between ‘A Shrew‘ and ‘The Shrew‘ (36-7)?

Are you surprised that there is no such thing as a true, original Shakespearean text?

What’s the relationship between the notes and the main body of the text?


Induction I

Where does Taming of the Shrew take place?

Does Christopher Sly’s name describe his character? Why are names so important to him?

What purpose does the repetition of contrast between hot and cold serve throughout the induction?

What are some of the Lord’s dog’s names? Do think it’s strange that Lord’s dogs have names when so many of the other characters in the Induction, the Lord included, only have descriptive titles, or not titles at all and are merely referred to as boy?

Compare the Lord’s treatment of Sly to his treatment of the dogs.

What does the Lord mean when he says, “Sirs, I will practice on this man” (Induction 1.35)? What sort of outcome does he predict? Do his attendants, 1 & 2 Huntsman agree?

What sorts of arrangements does the Lord ask the Huntsman to make to his chamber to convince Sly to “forget himself” (Induction 1.40)?

Are there points of contact between the Induction and The Tempest?

How does the Lord greet the players?

What sorts of instructions does he give them concerning Sly? Who else is his advice aimed at? Why is he so excited about inciting laughter only to “abate the over-merry spleen” (I.135)?

What does it mean that that everyone has to obey a Lord even if he order them to help him give his power away and undermine the very authority that binds them to his service?

Who does the Lord get to the play Sly’s “humble wife” (Induction I.115) & what instructions does the Lord tell his servant to pass along to Bartholomew?

How does the Lord’s training of Bartholomew compare to Pertuccio’s training of Katherina?

Induction II

Are you surprised by Sly’s initial reaction to the situation he finds himself when he wakes up?

Do clothes really ‘make a man’?

What sorts of evidence do the Lord and his servants offer to Sly to persuade him that he is actually “a mighty man of much descent” (II.13)?

What sorts of pictures does the Lord want to show Sly? Why will looking at a series of visually rendered, Classical rape sequences persuade Sly that he is a lord?

What finally persuades Sly that he is a lord?

Is the Lord and his household play on Sly cruel?

How does Bartholomew excuse himself from having sex with Sly? What is the connection between love/lust and madness/illness?

What are the medical properties of the play?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *