People know her as being a shrew throughout Padua. Shrew is a word used to describe a bad- tempered woman. She is constantly degrading the men around her. She is hostile and full of rage. Many people believe she acts this way because of underlying unhappiness. There are many plausible explanations for Katherine's unhappiness. Perhaps it is because of jealousy due to her father's favouritism towards Katherine's sister Bianca. Perhaps it is the fact that Katherine knows that she is unfavourable towards men. She realizes the fact that she may never find a husband. On the other hand, perhaps it is all of these reasons; but whatever the reason may be it causes Katherine to have a reputation of being a Shrew. (Sparknotes: The Taming of the Shrew)
Petruchio: He is prideful and very sure of himself. Because he is intelligent and is able to put Katherine in her place he ends up somewhat taming her. He shapes her into the woman he knows deep down that she is. He peels her back one layer at a time until she too is able to show her love towards him. He stops at nothing in order to win her affection. He is intelligent and is not pushed away by Katherine's harsh personality. It is his persistence, which eventually wins Katherine's love. (Sparknotes: The Taming of the Shrew)
Bianca: Her character is the foil of Katherine. She is sweet well mannered and knows her role as a woman and follows it. She has a line of men waiting to marry her. She is always obedient and is constantly following what others and what society tells her to do. She unlike her sister seeks freedom rather than control and structure. She is submissive and has a certain delicateness to her.
The Problem: Lucentio comes with his servants Tranio and Biondello, to attend the local university. His main priority is his studies; however, his focus quickly changes when he meets the lovely Bianca. There are two major problems, the first is that Bianca already has two suitors lined up, the second, and the main issue, is Bianca's father. His name is Baptista Minola; he declared that no man is to court his youngest daughter Bianca, until his eldest daughter Katherine is first married. The problem is that Katherine is a shrew and it seems as though no man in his right mind will marry her. (Sparknotes: The Taming of the Shrew)
The solution: When Petruchio comes into the story, he is determined to marry a wealthy woman. He is willing to disregard who she is or what she is like. Lucentio immediately introduces him to Katherine. Petruchio soon says they will marry. That Sunday he shows up late for the wedding. He shows up on an old horse and is wearing ridiculous clothing. This allows Bianca to get married. Lucentio soon wins Bianca's love after showing his deep infatuation for her.
Setting: The play is set in the Italian city of Padua. The date is somewhere around 1600. Scenes are in various locations throughout this city such as the local university and the church. The setting of the play is not a key role in the storyline and is therefore not many details are given.
Five important events are as follows: Lucentio falling in love with Bianca only to find that she is off limits due to her father's protective nature towards her. Petruchio and Katherine's first encounter as it reveals different aspects of their characters. This event also leads into the somewhat bizarre love story sparked between these two. The third is the wedding as it shows the reader how Petruchio will proceed to "tame" his shrew. Lucentio and Bianca elope without Baptista's blessing. This is important because this goes against everything that we know of Bianca's character. Bianca is the sweet innocent daughter who always obeys her father's rulings. However, it seems as though Bianca and Katherine's roles switch. Before Katherine always went against her father and now she is agreeing to marry and it is Bianca who is being disobedient. The final important event is the end of the play at Hortensio's wedding banquet. The three new husbands' have a contest of who can get their wives to obey them first. Everyone expects Bianca and Lucentio to win surprisingly it is Katherine who first reacts to her husband's control. This event goes deeper to show that Katherine is the one who wanted the control, whereas Bianca seemed to want to break free from it. (Sparknotes: The Taming of the Shrew)
What the character learned: The characters of this play all learned something. Bianca learned the importance of being her own person instead of letting others always control the way she acts. Lucentio learns the importance of fighting for love. He does not give up on Bianca but he is willing to do whatever it takes to win her love. Petruchio learns to look beneath the surface of people and into who they are and why the act the way that they act. Katherine learns to be obedient and she learns that this does not take away her identity but it can define it even more.