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Analyse Shakespeare's use of dramatic and poetic effects in Act 2, Scene 1 of 'The Taming of the Shrew'

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Introduction

Analyse Shakespeare's use of dramatic and poetic effects in Act 2, Scene 1 of 'The Taming of the Shrew' Shakespeare's Taming of the shrew is an infamous Elizabethan play which has caused a lot of controversy. Act two, scene one is a key section of the play as it confronts many issues such as women's passive position in society, the importance of dowries, patriarchal society, among many other pressing concerns of the time. In this scene Petruchio sets out to 'woo' Katherina, who at the beginning is tying up her younger, prettier and more favoured sister. Following this Bianca's suitors, disguised as tutors, arrive along with Petruchio who demands to go out with the 'fair and virtuous' Katherina. Baptista and Petruchio then discuss the most crucial part, the dowry he will receive; and after this conversation Petruchio decides to marry her. Shakespeare uses many dramatic and poetic devices in this part of Taming of the Shrew; these include sexual puns, imagery, stichomythia, disguise, violence and manipulative language. Katherina is well known for being violent and shrewish at the beginning of Shakespeare's Taming of the shrew; she is seen tying up her younger sister; this very dramatic stagecraft and is an eye-catching opening as a woman from such a respectable background would not have dreamed of being as violent and angry as Katherina. ...read more.

Middle

(Line 116) then Baptista presents him with a very generous offer "after my death, the one half of my lands and in possession twenty thousand crowns". This shows very strongly that this union was a more of a business contract than a declaration of their love, and it objectifies Katherine as if she was livestock being sold at market. Overall we know that Petruchio's incentive for marrying Katherina was the large amount of money he would receive Courtly love came from the French l'amour courtois when a knight would treat his girlfriend with the same respect as his liege lord, she was in control of the relationship and the knights love for the lady inspires him to do great deeds so he was worthy of his love; in short the man was very chivalrous towards his significant other. This is the polar opposite to the way the anti-romantic Petruchio treats Katherina and defy literary tradition; however there is evidence of courtly love in The Taming of the Shrew between Lucentio and Bianca whose love appears real. Petruchio, the master of manipulation, and Katherina have a long conversation where Petruchio's main objective is to 'woo' Katherina; he has many ways of doing this which includes being incredibly polite to her, flooding her with compliments and flattery such as 'thy virtues spoke of and thy beauty sounded' and 'the ...read more.

Conclusion

In Act 2 scene 1 of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew there are numerous poetic and dramatic devices which he uses highly effectively. These range from Petruchio's use of puns and sexual innuendos to make Katherina like him to Gremio, Lucentio and Hortensio disguising themselves for Bianca's attention. Most of these devices centre on women showing that even though they are living in a very male dominated society most things revolve around women. However, this play is still very sexist; a good example of this is in the last scene when the wives are expected to come when their husbands call, in the Elizabethan times when this play was written women were lower in the social hierarchy than men this reflects in the play. I feel that Shakespeare is therefore trying to draw attention to the inequalities of the time and that he is also commenting on the traditions of weddings fourty years previous when he uses the dramatic effect of making Katherina place her hand under Petruchio in the concluding scene. This puts into real life that women in the Elizabethan times when this play was written were lower in the social hierarchy than men. So overall, Shakespeare's uses of dramatic effects are used to make the play more exciting and to make people think about social issues of the time. ...read more.

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