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Shakespeare - Focusing on Act 5 scene 2 of Shakespeare's comedy, The Taming of the Shrew, explain how you would direct this play for a modern audience.

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Introduction

I got a B for this Shakespeare coursework Focusing on Act 5 scene 2 of Shakespeare's comedy, The Taming of the Shrew, explain how you would direct this play for a modern audience. 'The Taming of the Shrew' involves a rich businessman, Baptista, who has two daughters. He forbids anyone to court his beautiful daughter, Bianca, until he finds someone to marry his other daughter, Katherina, who is labelled a shrew. The man marries Katherina is Petruchio; who treats her cruelly until she obeys and agrees with him. At the time the play was written, the role of women in life was different. Today, we learn that men and women should be seen as equals. In act 5 scene 2 of the play, this is not seen. In Padua, women were seen as possessions of men among with other things such as the man's house or horse. It was a woman's duty to obey her husband and because Kate did not, she is seen by the male characters as unnatural which is evidence of evil. With a modern audience, this role of women will cause some people, especially the women, to feel insulted or uncomfortable. In the play, if Kate is dressed in old-fashioned clothes then her speeches will be taken seriously, but if Kate is dressed in modern designer clothes with sunglasses and maybe a mobile telephone, then the audience will assume she is being sarcastic in her speech. ...read more.

Middle

This would be a significant part to show how Bianca is also changing. I will now go through the play line by line and describe how I would direct it. "Katherine, I charge thee, tell these headstrong women/What duty they do owe their lords and husbands." Petruchio wants Kate to tell the people how a lady should act towards her husband or lord. The crowd will now think that although Kate has changed, she will not do it. But she does with pride. Kate starts her speech by insulting the widow and saying that she should respect her master. "Fie, fie, unknit that threatening unkind brow...Thy governor." I would get the actress to say this in a sarcastic but malicious way because although she respects Petruchio, she has her own free will and also wants to intimidate the widow. As she says this, I would get her to walk up o the widow and the widow would cower away into a corner. This will show the audience that Kate is still domineering. "Thy husband is thy lord...sea and land." Whilst Kate is saying this part, she will go up to Petruchio and kneel in front of him to show the audience how much respect she has for her husband. "Too little payment for so great a debt...owes the prince." She is saying that women have a good life and hardly have to repay their husbands for all the things he does for her. ...read more.

Conclusion

Petruchio is delighted with Kate's speech and takes her off to bed. As he hugs Kate, he will look at the other men over his shoulder with a smug grin on his face to make them feel jealous of his relationship and because he has also won the bet. The characters and audience will now realise that the shrew has been tamed. The audience may not feel very comfortable with this ending but some will see Petruchio loves Kate and did all these things so that she could live in peace with him. If the audience is upset about Kate's change then they will be happy with Bianca as she changes, almost to how Kate used to be. This balances the play so the situation at the end is similar to the one at the beginning but with roles reversed. I have made Kate become like this because Petruchio mistreats her that much that she can't take it anymore. She also realises that he loves her deep down. So Kate obeys him and loves him in return in order for a happy lifestyle. Eventually this love becomes genuine and she is, in a way, 'brainwashed.' This is why she goes on to tell the two wives they shouldn't be like they are even though she used to be worse. Bianca has become worse than she was because as she was watching her sister being cruelly tamed by Petruchio, I think she got convinced that women should be allowed to behave like that because men do not own them. ...read more.

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