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How important is the notion of Love and Romance within the play? - Taming of the Shrew.

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Introduction

How important is the notion of Love and Romance within the play? Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare is often called a romantic comedy. It was written during the Renaissance period and set in Padua, Italy. The play focuses on courtship and marriage. Especially highlighting how Elizabethan marriages were arranged mainly for money, land and power. Money was a large factor in marriages and often evidence of the dowry was required prior to the acceptance to marry from the father. The notion of love and romance was a factor in some marriages, however it was very different from our thoughts on love and romance today. This could be linked with the drastic change in the treatment of women overtime. Throughout the play we see evidence of the love and romance, especially from the youngsters such as Lucentio, but also see how love may not always turn out how expected. At the start of the play we are introduced to the main characters these include the Minola family, Lucentio, Tranio, Gremio and Hortensio. The topic of conversation is about marriage, where Baptist Minola will not allow Bianca, his youngest daughter to marry until her elder sister Katherina has found a husband. ...read more.

Middle

Act 2 sees the meeting of Baptista and Petruchio and in turn Petruchio and Katherina. To see how Shakespeare looks on the union of the two as a comical event from the start. There is little romance involved in this union and any kind words towards Katherina are laughed at; "good sir. Pray have you not a daughter Called Katherina, fair and virtuous?" Are Petruchio's first words to Baptista, who replies, "I have a daughter, sir, called Katherine." Baptista pointedly dismisses the idea of Katherina being virtuous and fair. This is comical to us, but at the same time shows us the contempt in which Katherina is treated. We see how Petruchio's pleasant words towards Katherina are in fact reverse psychology he continually through out the play refers to her as mild and fair when he knows she is the opposite. We are getting a taster of the cruel mind games that Petruchio has planned for his future wife. The annoyance that he stirs in Katherina is comical, but when we look at how hollow these compliments of love are, we again see how the play shows no true commitment to the notions of romance. ...read more.

Conclusion

Petruchio's antics are not only extremely unromantic but are also very insensitive, usually it is the bride who arrives after the groom, but to keep Katherina waiting on her wedding day highlights to all the guests how Petruchio is going to be in charge. We see how he disregard Katherina's feeling giving us clues to how he plans to tame her. We know that he is untidy and odd appearance too is an act to humiliate Katherina as his friends are also confused; "it is some odd humour pricks him to this fashion, Yet often times he goes but mean apparel......" No one however, tells Petruchio that his behaviour is unfair and Baptista goes as far to say: " I am glad he comes howsoe'er he comes" again we see with what contempt and unruly Elizabethan women were treated even on her wedding day.. Such harsh treatment again seems fine in the eyes of that society. If the audience is expected a romantic marriage, would be disappointed. Petruchio continues his unpredictable antics throughout the marriage vows and: "such a mad marriage never was before........." after the marriage Petruchio shows his true colours. His soliloquy at the end of Act 4, shows how talk of taming was not untrue. His use of language was very strong and very demeaning to Katherina. ...read more.

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