The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1592.
The play begins with a framing device, often referred to as the induction, in which a mischievous nobleman tricks a drunken tinker named Christopher Sly into believing he is actually a nobleman himself. The nobleman then has the play performed for Sly's diversion.
The main plot depicts the courtship of Petruchio and Katherina, the headstrong, obdurate shrew. Initially, Katherina is an unwilling participant in the relationship, but Petruchio tempers her with various psychological torments—the “taming”—until she becomes a compliant and obedient bride. The subplot features a competition between the suitors of Katherina's more desirable sister, Bianca. The play's apparent misogynistic elements have become the subject of considerable controversy, particularly among modern scholars, audiences and readers.
The Taming of the Shrew has been adapted numerous times for stage, screen, opera, ballet, and musical theatre; perhaps the most famous adaptations being Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate and the 1967 film of the play, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The 1999 high school comedy film 10 Things I Hate About You is also loosely based on the play.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616) was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. His extant works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the 19th century. His plays remain highly popular today and are constantly studied, performed, and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.
In 2016, celebrations will commence in the United Kingdom and across the world to honour The Bard's 400th anniversary.