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How does Shakespeare entertain us in the Taming of the Shrew?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare entertain us in the Taming of the Shrew? William Shakespeare lived in the Tudor era and all of his writings contain traditional old English language and mention many old ways of living and its traditions which were enjoyed by the people in that era. Throughout 'The Taming of the Shrew' there are many traits of that lifestyle. If we read the book now it shows how, over time people's attitudes have changed. For example it would have been normal for people to watch bear baiting, but these days it would be considered as cruelty to animals. Due to the changes of attitudes and values in our modern day life some of the play is not as funny as it would have been seen in the Shakespearean days. However on the other hand there are many aspects of the play which would be just as funny or even more so in this day and age. For example people would have just accepted some the behaviour which Katherina displays, however these days it would be highly unlikely that a wife would throw temper tantrums because she couldn't have a hat. There are so many different techniques in which Shakespeare entertains us through out his book that it is impossible to be able to tell which ones have been used to the greatest effect. ...read more.

Middle

Peter, Petruchio's servant ahs seen a change in Petruchio's behaviour and predicted what Petruchio is going to do. He explains his thoughts and he says, 'He kills her in her own humour.' By this Peter means that Petruchio is deliberately outdoing his wife in his behaviour and temperament. Katherina is shocked at Petruchio's behaviour and how unpleasant his attitude is. She is particularly disgusted by the way in which he treats his servants. Petruchio's home is run smoothly, yet he manages to find many faults. He rejects his dinner, the way in which his shoes are changed and the outfit which he ordered for Katherina. By this stage Katherina ahs been starved of both food and sleep and immediately starts to have a go at Petruchio but soon realises that her behaviour will not achieve her anything and promptly stops. In Act 4, Scene 3 we witness the cruel treatment that Petruchio puts upon Katherina. He is determined to make something nice out of Kate and he will attempt anything to tame her temperament. These days he could have been put in prison for his actions, however in Shakespearean times, this was not uncommon treatment of the wife who didn't behave, and it was watched on stage and received a great reception from the audience. They used to find it very funny to watch people being treated badly and that is why people used to really enjoy watching this play. ...read more.

Conclusion

It appears that Gremio is very unaware to the extent that he is being made a fool of. Gremio unwittingly invites his rival (Lucentio) in to Baptista's house to see Bianca - little did he realise that he wanted to become a suitor to Bianca! The comedy which results from the plot, is very much a comedy of situation. The funniest part is where all the events gather to make the climax in the middle of Act V Scene I where Lucentio's real father appears unexpectedly in Padua and meets the supposed father of Lucentio, the Pedant. After this climax it continues being funny but in a much different manner. The humour takes a more serious note and for a while leaves Katherina's behaviour and focuses on other events. However it returns to Katherina's temperament when she has a sudden and unpredicted outburst at the end of Act V. She starts proclaiming that all husbands should be worshipped and any wife that doesn't should be treated badly. This speech by Katherina is very funny in the situation, however if you were to remove the situation it would become serious and possibly offensive. This book is a wonderful example as to how Shakespeare entertains his audience. He mainly focuses on the situation and what would be funny for the audience within that situation. This book uses a variety of different of different techniques to create comedy and is very well written to suit its purpose. Clare Norman 10M English ...read more.

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