The play begins with an explanatory scene in which a nobleman decides to trick the drunkard Christopher Sly into believing that he is not a tinker but actually a lord. After he has been convinced by the mischievous nobleman, and begins to believe the ruse, a play is performed as part of Sly's diversion. The play that is performed for Sly features the "shrew," Katherina, who is the oldest daughter of a lord in Padua named Baptista Minola. Katherina's nickname is a comment on her temperament, it is said no man would ever want to marry her. Her younger sister Bianca on the other hand, does not have the same reputation, and two men are vying for her hand. The two suitors are Hortensio and Gremio, and Baptista has not given either man his consent to marry Bianca until Katherina is wed.