Taming Of The Schrew Essay Research Paper

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Taming Of The Schrew Essay, Research Paper The Taming of the Shrew: A Perceptual Ability Test A recurrent theme In Shakespeare?s plays is the idea that things are not always what they seem. The Taming of the Shrew shows a good example of this theme. In this play we find many discrepancies between what seems to be and what is. The main theme of this play is knowing what a person is really like is more important than how they appear to be. This is shown by Petruchio’s relationship with Katherine; the changing roles of Tranio, Lucentio, and Hortensio; and the true characters of Bianca and Katherine. All three of these situations help to enrich the theme. 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 landowner, Baptista Minola, attempts to have his two daughters married. One appears to be very shrewish, Katherine, while the other, Bianca, is the beautiful and gentle one. 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 (Saccio 40). 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. Leo Hughes provides the reader with a reasonable and rationale purpose of the play, by saying: Its object is to provoke the spectator to laughter, not the reflective kind which comedy is intended to elicit, but the uncomplicated response of simple enjoyment. 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 maintains her assertiveness. Most of the play’s humor 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, a microcosm with in a macrocosm if you will, Shakespeare immediately lets the audience know that the play is not real thus making all events in the play false realities (Righter 104). Almost all characters in the play take on identities other than their own at some point of time during the play. The first predicament that supports the theme is Petruchio’s relationship with Katherine. In The Taming Of The Shrew, courtship and marriage are not so much the result of love but rather an institution of society

that people are expected to take part in. As a result of the removal of romance from marriage, suitors are judged, not by their love for a woman, but by how well they can provide for her. Petruchio ?does not become what others pretend him to be, nor does Katherine?(Oliver 38). When we first meet Petruchio, he is only after the money of Katherine, and accepts her harshness as simply a goal he must overcome. He is mistaken for a person who is only after money, not love at all. Yet, when he meets Kate, he begins to fall for her. While he still argues and attempts to train her, it is solely for his own benefit. He wants her to be less harsh so she will be willing to fall in love with him. Petruchio ends up truly caring for and loving Kate, despite the front he puts up having his true