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OF this play the two plots are so well united, that they can hardly be called two, without injury to the art with which they are interwoven. The attention is entertained with all the variety of a double plot, yet is not distracted by unconnected incidents.
The part between Katharine and Petruchio is eminently spritely and diverting. At the marriage of Bianca the arrival of the real father, perhaps, produces more perplexity than pleasure. The whole play is very popular and diverting.
I once thought that the name of this play might have been taken from an old story, entitled, The Wf lapped in Morells Skin, or The Taming of a Shrew, but I have since discovered among the entries in the books of the Stationers' Company the following: "Peter Shorte] May 2, 1594, a pleasaunt conceyt. ed hystorie, called, The Taminge of a Shrowe." It is likewise entered to Nich. Ling, Jan. 22, 1606; and to John Smythwicke, Nov. 19, 1607.
Dr. Percy, in the first volume of his Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, is of opinion that The Frolicksome Duke, or the Tinker's Good Fortune, an ancient ballad in the Pepys' Collection, might have suggested to Shakspeare the Induction for this comedy.
The following story, however, which might have been the parent of all the rest, is related by Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 649 : "A Tartar Prince, saith Marcus Polus, Lib. II. cap. 28, called Senex de Montibus, the better to establish his government amongst his subjects, and to keepe them in awe, found a convenient place in a pleasant valley environed with hills, in which he made a delitious parke full of odorifferous flowers and fruits, and a palace fuil of all worldly contents that could possibly be devised, musicke, pictures, variety of meats, &c. and chose out a certaine young man, whom with a soporiferous potion he so benummed, that he perceived nothing; and so, fast asleepe as he was, caused him to be conveied into this faire garden. Where, after he had lived a while in all such pleasures a sensuall man could desire, he cast him into a sleepe againe, and brought him forth, that when he waked he might tell others he had beene in Paradise."-Marco Paolo, quoted by Burton, was a traveller of the 13th century.
Chance, however, has at last furnished me with the original to which Shakspeare was indebted for his fable; nor does this discovery at all dispose me to retract my former opinion, which the reader may find at the conclusion of the play.
CHRISTOPHER SLY, a drunken tinker.
Persons in the Induc
LUCENTIO, Son to Vincentio, in love with Bianca. PETRUCHIO, a gentleman of Verona, a suitor to Kath
PEDANT, an old fellow set up to personate Vincentio.
KATHARINA, the shrew, daughters to Baptista.
Tailor, Haberdasher, and Servants, attending on Baptista and Petruchio.
SCENE-sometimes in Padua ; and sometimes in Petruchio's house in the country.