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Taming of the Shrew - The excerpt that is to be analyzed depicts the first overheated encounter between the two explosive characters. In fact, this is the scene with which the taming process leads off.

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Introduction

The analysis of a fragment from "The Taming of the Shrew" by William Shakespeare INTRODUCTION "The Taming of the Shrew" is a farcical comedy written by William Shakespeare around 1590 and it seemed the most elaborate play of that time. The main plot is rather simple: Petruchio, "a gentleman of Verona", courts Katherina, the well-to-do Baptista Minola's elder daughter, whose sole "feeble" drawback is that she constantly tortures everyone around her with her inborn maliciousness. Initially, Katherina is a rough unwilling participant in the relationship, but the skillful Petruchio manages to temper her with innumerable psychological torments until she becomes an obedient wife. The excerpt that is to be analyzed depicts the first overheated encounter between the two explosive characters. In fact, this is the scene with which the "taming" process leads off. After having settled a certain agreement with Kate's father regarding his future wedding and dowry, the suitor eventually meets his bride and her tempestuous nature. MAJOR THEMES REFLECTED IN THE EXCERPT As it is easy to infer from the entire dialogue, the main theme is the battle of the sexes with the subsidiary struggle for mastery in marriage. Throughout the whole fierce polemics, one can easily observe that each remark is a stroke for gaining superiority over the other. ...read more.

Middle

is the tamer who knows that physical violence against his "pet" whould only amplify the gap between them, bringing about hatred, mistrust and an almost certain failure in the domestication process. In regard to the animal imagery, besides the "shrew" appellation, Petruchio labels Kate as well "wasp" and "turtle". On the other side, Katherina fires back with offences such as: "ass", "jade" or "buzzard" and warn him in a "waspish" manner to beware her sting. Only that Petruchio decodes the meaning of the "sting" as being nothing esle but her sharp tongue. Furthermore, he comes up with a retort to Kate's every affront, mercilessly twisting the meanings to his advantage - "K: Asses are made to bear, and so are you./ P: Women are made to bear, and so are you."; "K: Well ta'en, and like a buzzard./ P: O, slow-wing'd turtle, shall a buzzard take thee?"; "P: Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting? In his tail./ K: In his tongue./ P:Whose tongue?/ K: Yours, if you talk of tales; and so farewell./ P: What, with my tongue in your tale?"; "K: Yes, keep you warm./ P: Marry, so I mean, sweet Katherine, in thy bed.". Through all these witty replies, Shakespeare foregrounds Petruchio as a worthy suitor for Baptista's daughter, capable of suppressing Kate's "uprisings". ...read more.

Conclusion

"Moveable" ("K: ...I knew you at the first/ You were a moveable./ P: Why, what's a moveable?/ K: A join'd-stool") is a law term for a personal possession such as a piece of furniture, and, on the other side it can refer to the adjectival meaning of not being fixed in one place or position. "Arms" is the plural for limbs, or an abridged version for "coat of arms". So, with a sole line, Katherina both warns Petruchio that if he hits her, he could lose his heraldic emblem and, on the other side, she casts a sort of a threat-curse for the hands that could hurt her. Derivations of the idiom "wit" are also to be mentioned as exquisitely blended: "P: It is extempore (goodly speech), from my mother wit./ K: A witty mother! witless esle her son." FINAL CONSIDERATIONS Indubitably, the chain of retorts rendered within these lines extracted from "The Taming of the Shrew" epitomizes Shakespeare's outstanding ability to juggle with words, i.e. his linguistic genius. Only that beyond this comedy's main plot and its author's craftsmanship, one can discover the achievement of the ultimate goal cherished by the Renaissance English writing pioneers, namely the metamorphosis of English into a literary language, worthy of comparison with Latin and Greek. Petruchio's original method of subduig the shrewish Kate emphasises in fact an unequivocal proof of the English language worthiness. ...read more.

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