The Taming of The Shrew. William Shakespeare An Introduction. The Taming of the Shrew. The idea of beating one’s wife to make her obey was acceptable behaviour in Medieval times. The Taming of the Shrew presents a different, more radical alternative. Sources of the play.
The wagering on the wives’ obedience occurs in The Book of the Knight of La Tourlandry (1484)
A young man succeeds in possessing the girl he loves by outwitting the character who blocks his access to her - in this case Lucentio outwits Gremio to court and marry Bianca.
Lucentio achieves this by means of disguise and allowing Tranio to pretend that he is Lucentio.
Hortensio, Shakespeare’s invention, is introduced to add further complication.
A Young Man
A beautiful Girl
The Scheming Servant - Tranio -knows all - to fool all.
Added to these characters and actions is the INDUCTION scene which orginated in the story:
The Sleeper Awakened from The Arabian Nights. A story popular in the 16th Century.
The man born to tame Kate by curing her of her chronic bad temper. He realises that her choler is an ill humour and sets about restoring her to a balance with his sanguine humour.
He “drowns her” in her own ill humour and provides a mirror to show her what she could become.
Bianca’s actions contrast to Kate’s behaviour both earlier and at the end of the play. She has a will of her own which she uses to effect to provide her own entertainment.
Hortensio provides more complication for Act III sci. He is a link between Petruchio and Padua and is essential for the last scene where the betting needs suspense to be effective.
Ends up wifeless
Pantaloon – old foolish man, butt of all the jokes
Shameful for going after such a young girl
The page; pretends to be Sly’s wife . . . Very convincing
From Mantua; impersonates Vincentio
Foil – a character who provides a contrast for another character
Bianca’s innocence and obedience is a foil to Kate’s shrewish behavior
Outward appearances are not always an indication of a person’s true identity
The play is full of physical disguises, deception, changes in attitude and behavior, and psychological changes
Petruchio’s wedding outfit to embarrass and humiliate Kat
Kat accepting whatever Petruchio says is true
Bianca’s obedience (not as sweet as they thought)
Kat’s transition from a shrew to a trophy wife
A farce is a type of comedy in which ridiculous and often stereotyped characters are involved in farfetched, silly situations