The two plays follow the same plot for the most part—the characters (excepting Sly and Kate) have different names but most of the scenes run parallel to their counterparts in the other play. In the final scene of the play (in both versions) Kate and her husband return to Kate’s father’s house for the wedding celebration of Kate’s younger sister(s). At one point the men make a bet about whose wife will come when he calls, and only Kate comes when commanded, promptly obedient, and fetches the other women as well. Kate’s husband then asks her to instruct the other women how they should treat their husbands, and in both versions Kate gives a long speech, but the content of those speeches is quite different. In The Shrew Kate gives a longer lecture, and covers a broader range argumentation over full forty-four lines. In A Shrew Kate has only 29 lines and confines her argument to a religious premise that women are inferior by design and by their own actions and history. Here are the two speeches in full, we’ll discuss them in closer detail in the following paragraphs.
Kate in The Shrew gives her speech mainly comparing husbands and wives to kings and subjects. In her introduction (where she insults the women for their disagreeable facial expressions) she titles their husbands with the terms, "thy lord, thy king, thy governor." Throughout the speech she gives several reasons why women should not fight their husbands. In the first place, it's unattractive (with the troubled fountain analogy), secondly it's wrong (women owe their husbands obedience), and thirdly if you try to fight them you'll lose because they're stronger ("our lances are but straws").
|BBC Shakespeare Retold, a personal favorite|