The play within a play follows the story of Petruchio, a man seeking “love,” or rather, the dowry behind the marriage, and Katherina, the “shrew” referred to in the titleof the work. There are also two other characters which need mention as they are thetrue young love of the story which follow the story of the low, new comedy type, in whichthe lovers are kept apart and must themselves find a way to be together. Thesecharacters are Bianca, sister of the shrew Katharina, daughter of Baptista, andLucentio, her suitor. The obstacle presented between them is the fact that Baptistarefuses to allow his Bianca, fair and innocent, to marry before Katharina, the older of thesisters, is herself married. (Hudson) The problem with this is that Katharina is short-tempered and stubborn to a fault, often striking out against those which anger or upsether. It seems, to Lucentio, a lost cause, until, at least, he meets Petruchio, a drunk fromVerona. Petruchio has but one goal in coming to Padua and meeting his friends Gremioand Hortensio, they themselves suitors to Bianca: To get rich by marrying a woman witha wealthy father, collecting her dowry, and, eventually, inheriting her father's estate.
“Petr. - …. If thou know one rich enough to be Petruchio's wife,as wealth is burdenof my wooing dance, be she as foul as was Florentius love, as old as Sibyl, and ascurst and shrewed as Socrates' Xanthippe, or a worse, she moves me not.... Icome to wive it wealthily in Padua, if wealthily, then happily in Padua.”(Shakespeare 21)
Thus, it is only natural that Petruchio should woo the woman Katharina andcollect her extremely rich father's wealth. This would then free Bianca from her shacklesand she'd be free to marry. This, however, is treated like nothing more than a game byPetruchio, who pledges to take her through wooing the woman, or by any other means