Can a man tame an ill-tempered woman? Petruchio thinks he is up to the task in The Taming of the Shrew. William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) is the most influential writer in English history. Shakespeare has been called The Barb of Avon and England's national poet. There are 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets and 38 plays in his collected works. He began work as an actor and writer in London first writing comedies and historic plays. He later wrote tragedies. Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Othello are some of his more famous plays. The Taming of the Shrew was an early comedy. The play begins with a drunken man who is deceived into thinking he is a nobleman. He then watches this play in which the noble Petruchio married an outspoken ill-tempered woman. Katherine is eventually tamed to the will be Petruchio. The play has been adapted into opera, stage plays and screen plays. Cole Porter's play Kiss Me Kate is one instance.