Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements for “Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes in “The Taming of the Shrew” by Shakespeare and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements offer a short summary of “Taming of the Shrew” in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are, of course, free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot of “Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare or themes to them for your essay. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from “Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare at the bottom of the page, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: The Power Structure of Relationships in The Taming of the Shrew
The theme of power in relationships is very strong in William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. The relationship between Lucentio, Tranio and Biondello is rather unorthodox, as Tranio presents himself as Lucentio to help him with Bianca. The roles of the nobility and the lower class, as well as the parent and child relationship dichotomy are also fully explored throughout the text. Are the roles in these relationships in “Taming of the Shrew” by Shakespeare influenced more by the personal feelings of the characters, or the social roles that they feel they should be attempting to fulfill? Many people throughout the text defy their roles, and their foolery is met with consequences. What do you think Shakespeare is saying about the acceptance of social roles?
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: Courtship in The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
Throughout The Taming of the Shrew it is clear that everyone has a different idea concerning the rules of courtship. While Lucentio, Germio, and Hortensio are all in pursuit of Bianca, they all also try to win her favor by pretending to be someone they are not. Katherine and Petruccio seem, at first, to be the only characters that are true to themselves, as they are both outspoken and frank. However, it becomes clear after the marriage of Petruccio and the taming of Katherine, that Katherine acted the way she did because she was insecure about herself in comparison to Bianca. What is the correlation between being true to oneself and finding love? Does Shakespeare seem to advocate these deceptions in “Taming of the Shrew”?
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: Sibling Rivalry in The Taming of the Shrew
Throughout The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare constantly draws comparisons between Bianca and Katherine. Bianca is a foil to Katherine; while Bianca is sweet, kind and gentle, Katherine is harsh and speaks her mind, no matter what the ramifications may be. However, in the end of “Taming of the Shrew”, it seems as if Katherine’s behavior stems from her jealous feelings towards her beautiful younger sister. Is it possible that the sibling rivalry between Katherine and Bianca, as well as Katherine’s inferiority complex, could be responsible for the way that Katherine acts? After both sisters are married, Bianca refuses to come out and meet Lucentio, allowing Katherine to be labeled the most devout wife. Do you think she does this on purpose as a way to finally allow Katherine to win at something that truly matters to her?
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4: The Economy of Marriage in The Taming of the Shrew
William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is far different from some of his other romantic plays, such as Romeo and Juliet. The Taming of the Shrew focuses more on the social aspects of marriage than on the feelings that are involved. For example, economic considerations are high for all characters involved in the play. Lucentio is only allowed to marry Bianca after he promises that his father can provide a larger dowry than Hortensio, and after his ‘father’ promises that the money will be paid. Petruccio is marrying any woman with a large dowry. In what ways are economic benefits more powerful than the emotions of the characters? How do you suppose Shakespeare reconciles the marriage of the daughters based on money? Do they appear truly happy anyway?
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #5: Compare and Contrast Film Versions of The Taming of the Shrew
Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew has been replicated through film many times. Pick one of the more modern adaptations, such as the 1967 Taming of the Shrew, Ten Things I Hate About You or Deliver Us from Eva and compare and contrast the major themes and representations in the film. For instance, how is the portrayal of Katherine different in the play than Kat in 10 Things I Hate About You? Do the films bend the characters to current political and social constructs? Are the men changed at all? How does Petruccio change from the play to the film.
This list of important quotations from “Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare will help you work with the essay topics and thesis statements above by allowing you to support your claims. All of the important quotes from “The Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare listed here correspond, at least in some way, to the paper topics above and by themselves can give you great ideas for an essay by offering quotes and explanations about other themes, symbols, imagery, and motifs than those already mentioned and explained. Aside from the thesis statements for “The Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare above, these quotes alone with references to page numbers can act as essay questions or study questions as they are all relevant to Shakespeare's text in an important way.
““Come, come, you wasp; i’ faith, you are too angry.” “If I be waspish, best beware my sting.”
”My remedy is then, to pluck it out.” “Ay, if the fool could find it where it lies.” “Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting? In his tail.” “In his tongue.” “Whose tongue?” “Yours, if you talk of tails: and so farewell.” “What, with my tongue in your tail? nay, come again. Good Kate; I am a gentleman.”” (II.i.209-219).
“I find you passing gentle. ’Twas told me you were rough and coy and sullen, And now I find report a very liar; For thou are pleasant, gamesome, passing courteous.” (II.i.243-246)
“And be it moon, or sun, or what you please. An if you please to call it a rush-candle, Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.” (IV.v.15-17)
“Then God be bless’d, it is the blessed sun: But sun it is not when you say it is not, And the moon changes even as your mind.” (IV.v.21-23)
“And craves no other tribute at thy hands But love, fair looks and true obedience; Too little payment for so great a debt. Such duty as the subject owes the prince Even such a woman oweth to her husband.” (V.ii.164-174)
“Gentlemen, importune me no farther, For how I firmly am resolved you know: That is, not to bestow my youngest daughter Before I have a husband for the elder. If either of you both love Katherine Because I know you well and love you well, Leave shall you have to court her at your pleasure.” (I.i.48-50)
“I come to wive it wealthily in Padua; If wealthily, then happily in Padua.” (I.ii.76-77)
“Content you, gentlemen. I will compound this strife. 'Tis deeds must win the prize, and he of both That can assure my daughter greatest dower Shall have my Bianca's love.” (II.i.361-365)
“No shame but mine. I must, forsooth, be forced To give my hand, opposed agaisnt my heart Unto a mad-brain rude by, full of spleen Who wooed in haste and means to wed at leisure” (III.ii.8-11)
“'Katherine the Curst' A title for a maid, of all titles the worst.” (I.ii.130-131)
Source : Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare. 1. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.