Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan provides infrequently used words to strengthen your

In the Theatre Appreciation class this week I will be giving a lecture on The Taming of the Shrew, one of the plays that the students watch online. The performance uniquely begins with the “Induction” involving an inebriated beggar who becomes the brunt of an English lord’s prank. The lord tries to makes Christopher Sly, who awakes out of a drunken stupor, think that he is of nobility. He of course remembers who he is and points out that his present profession is “a tinker.” The lord and his servants insist to him that his recollections are but madness.

The Taming of the Shrew is a play within a play. The Induction encapsulates The Taming of the Shrew’s five acts. Why did Shakespeare include the Induction? For one, the prank on Sly reinforces a theme of the play: a person’s environment and the way people treat him can determine behavior; the protagonist in the main plot illustrates this. The Induction also reinforces the husband and wife theme. When the servants tell Sly that he has a wife he immediately gives in to being the lord that they have been telling him he is. This week’s quiz has some words about this comedy.

1. shrewish (SHREW-ish)

A. incorrigible

B. bad-tempered

C. pusillanimous

D. garish

E. misanthropic

2. The first line, “I’ll pheeze you, in faith” means

A. I’ll love you, I promise.

B. I’ll fix you, I swear.

C. I fantasize about you.

D. I’ll please you even if it’s the last thing I do.

Sly says this to the hostess in front of an alehouse on a heath. B is the answer. No. 1 is B.

3. This is what the hostess calls Sly in the play’s second line:

A. drunkard

B. rogue

C. shrew

D. curmudgeon

E. pedant

4. Which one is the shrew?

A. Bianca

B. the hostess

C. Katharina

D. Baptista

5. Which one marries the shrew?

A. Lucentio

B. Tranio

C. Petruchio

D. Hortensio

E. Gremio

No. 3 is B. No. 4 is C.

Last week’s mystery word is misanthrope.

This week’s mystery word to solve is a synonym for the adjective that one of the characters has as a name.  Oh, and No. 5 is Petruchio (that lucky guy).