The Taming of the Shrew Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Beginning a unit on Shakespeare's 'The Taming of the Shrew'? Use this lesson plan to engage your students with the text. You'll find thought-provoking discussion questions and analysis, followed by activity to get your students excited about the Bard and his work.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
  • identify theme in The Taming of the Shrew
  • discuss gender roles in The Taming of the Shrew


1 - 2 hours


Key Vocabulary

  • Padua
  • Baptisa Minola
  • Katharina
  • Bianca
  • Lucentio
  • Tranio
  • Hortensio
  • Gremio
  • Marriage
  • Gender
  • Social hierarchy

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2

Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3

Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


NOTE - This lesson is for use after students read The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare.

  • Engage students with the topic by asking them to think about how society expects them to behave. Have them write about the social expectations put upon them and how they handle them.
  • After students finish writing, break them into small groups and allow them to discuss their answers. Have them list the top three expectations on chart paper, then discuss as a whole group, comparing and contrasting answers.
  • Now tell students they will be working together to summarize and analyze the play. Distribute copies of the text lesson Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew: Summary & Analysis.
  • Instruct students to read the 'Introduction' from the lesson, then ask:
    • How was the beginning of the play unorthodox?
    • What impact did the beginning of the play have on you as a reader?
    • Why do you think Shakespeare opened the play in this way?
  • Now have students read the remainder of the lesson.
  • Divide students into small groups of 3-4 students and assign each group a few acts to summarize. Instruct them to write the summary in the same style as the play, using quotes from the text and written as a Shakespearean speech.
  • When students are finished, have them give summaries in order.
  • Have students take the lesson quiz to check understanding.


  • Ask students to return to the theme of social norms and expectations, a central theme in the play.
  • Instruct students to return to the play and find examples of this theme, focusing specifically on gender roles. Have them compare and contrast to gender roles found in society today.
  • Discuss with students how they put gender role expectations on themselves and others. Identify what impact these have on them, particularly in contrast to social expectations put on them by teachers, parents, and the media.
  • Allow students to work in partners or small groups to analyze the theme of gender roles from the play, comparing and contrasting to their situations. Use the lesson Feminism & Gender Roles in The Taming of the Shrew for guidance.
  • Instruct students to write their findings and reflections in a short essay.


  • Have students memorize and recite short scenes from the play.
  • Analyze characters and how their interactions propel action in the play.
  • Watch a film version of the play, or go see a live performance.

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