Taming Of The Shrew

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Analysing Act 2, Scene 1 and Act 4, Scene 3 in “The Taming of the Shrew” will cover various features of the clever language Shakespeare has used in the play, in order for it to appeal to all audiences. This will include humour in the form of sexual innuendo, slapstick comedy and puns because the play is a comedy. I will also point out animal imagery and different 16th century themes Shakespeare has included in the play, some of which still exist today i.e. sexism, men versus women, power and appearance versus reality (what is seen on the surface is not always what is underneath). The main theme that any 21st Century audience will firstly notice is the obvious sexism towards Katherina. To most modern day women, Petruchio’s character would be interpreted as a male chauvinist, a dominating bully and a stubborn man who must have total control over his wife and will not allow her to have a mind or opinion of her own. This is displayed in Act 4, Scene 1 in Petruchio’s speech. He says, “My falcon now is sharp and passing empty, And till she stoop she must not be full-gorged.” In this line, Petruchio is talking about Katherina. She is his falcon, his wild hawk that must not be fully fed. Shakespeare uses animal imagery to relate to the title of the play, The Taming of the Shrew, showing that all animals need to be tamed. The title chosen for the play itself is animal imagery as it relates a shrew to how a woman was seen in Elizabethan times. A shrew is a little mouse with a long nose and is extremely bad tempered. Like a shrew, Katherina is seen as small and insignificant because she is a woman. Because she goes unnoticed, she retaliates by being bad-tempered, angry and generally rude. Both Katherina and the shrew are expected to be harmless and polite. This is why it is shocking to the men in the play when they realise what Katherina’s personality is really like.

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