Christopher Sly is a drunken beggar and tinker who insists that his family is of honorable lineage.
Collapsing in a drunken stupor outside a pub he has been ejected from, he awakens to find himself transformed into a lord and told that he has been madly supposing himself to be a beggar for the past fifteen years. He is lusty and wishes to go straight to bed with his newly-discovered wife, but is instead shown a play called The Taming of the Shrew, though he has no great taste for drama. He is greatly in debt, and likes only the cheapest goods, even when turned into a lord. He has a shrewish wife of his own, but thinks having seen the play has taught him how to deal with her.