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The Taming Of The Shrew

Uploaded by Admin on Nov 27, 1999

The Taming Of The Shrew by William Shakespeare is probably one of Shakespeare's earliest comedies. Its plot is derived from the popular 'war of the sexes' theme in which males and females are pitted against one another for dominance in marriage. The play begins with an induction in which a drunkard, Christopher Sly, is fooled into believing he is a king and has a play performed for him. The play he watches is what constitutes the main body of The Taming Of The Shrew. In it, a wealthy land owner, Baptista Minola, attempts to have his two daughters married. One is very shrewish, Katherine, while the other is the beautiful and gentle Bianca. In order to ensure Katherine is married, Baptista disallows Bianca to be espoused until Katherine is wed, forcing the many suitors to Bianca to find a mate for Katherine in order for them to vie for Bianca's love. Many critics of the play condemn it for the blatant sexist attitude it has toward women but closer examination of the play and the intricacies of its structure reveal that it is not merely a story of how men should 'put women in their place'. The play is, in fact, a comedy about an assertive woman coping with how she is expected to act in the society of the late sixteenth century and of how one must obey the unwritten rules of a society to be accepted in it. Although the play ends with her outwardly conforming to the norms of society, this is in action only, not in mind. Although she assumes the role of the obedient wife, inwardly she still retains her assertiveness. Most of the play's humour comes from the way in which characters create false realities by disguising themselves as other people, a device first introduced in the induction. Initially this is accomplished by having Christopher Sly believe he is someone he is not and then by having the main play performed for him. By putting The Taming Of The Shrew in a 'play within a play' structure, Shakespeare immediately lets the audience know that the play is not real thus making all events in the play false realities. Almost all characters in the play take on identities other than their own at some point of time during the play. Sly as a king, Tranio as Lucentio, Lucentio as Cambio, Hortensio as Litio and the pedant...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   11/27/1999

Category:   Shakespeare

Length:   5 pages (1,020 words)

Views:   1395

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