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Taming of the Shrew

So fare, we have seen no real evidence of true and lasting love, if love is ever talked of it seems it is of the nai?? ve kind such as Lucentio’s love at first sight. “I burn, I pine, I perish… Tranio….. If I achieve not this young modest girl” The above lines show lust by our modern views, but this in Lucentio’s nai?? ve mind is love. This lust is as close to romance and love that we the audience get to see, by our modern standards we are not completely convince of an of the undying declaration of love from characters such as Lucentio.

This is a result of a more realistic but still romantic view that we have in today’s society, where marriage is taken far more seriously and mainly based on the assumption of a fair and loving relationship. This links the reason we find much of the verbal exchanges of love comical, as we can clearly see the naivety of them.

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However we do relate to Lucentio’s approach to marriage better than to any other characters. We sympathise with him as we believe he has some knowledge of romance, and although his naivety makes him mistake lust for love, we still have some hope of a happy marriage and ending for him and Bianca.

But before this is possible, we have to see Katherina and Petruchio marry. Shakespeare’s use of language from the character of Petruchio, clearly dismisses the notion of love and romance through the way he refers to Katherina as an animal.

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We see this repeatedly through out the play and see that Petruchio’s words of ‘taming’ and (breaking in) are in fact astonishingly true, and by the end of the play a tamed cat Katherina is evidence of his determination to be the dominant male:

“for I am he am born to tame you Kate and bring you from wild Kate………. to a Kate, conformable ………. ” Petruchio vocabulary constantly refers to Kate as an animal, this is a way of degrading her in a very subtle way. The way the two finally marry is a taster for us as to how they marriage will progress. Petruchio embarrasses Katherina in many ways but mostly through his unpunctual and untidy arrival “why, Petruchio is coming, in a new hat and an old jerkin, a pair of old breeches, thrice turned…… ”

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. We again as before see references to Katherina as an animal. This time more obviously than before; “my falcon is now sharp…… and till she stoop she must not before gorged….. to make her Come and know her keepers call” The imagary of taming a bird is to reflect Petruchio actions with Katherina. These seems very inhumane and we see this reflected in his cold tone and determined speech, he shows a detachment from his wife and a cruel harshness.

We view Petruchio in a bad light, but never really consider the harshness of his actions if they were reality. This is a result of the format of the play. This undoubtedly changes our view of all the characters action and in turn the way the play’s themes are received. If it were not enough that Shakespeare gave Katherina such an awful marriage, he foes onto squash any hope we had about true love blossoming between Bianca and Lucentio. Their union ends with an unhappy Lucentio after all his troubles, to gain his perfect bride. Which get him and his servant into severe disrepute.

After marriage we see how Bianca reveals she is not a quite, obedient a modest woman, but in fact a wife who is full of confidant and spite. We fell a link to Licentious because of the way he approaches marriage as “normal” by our modern standards. However, we clearly see by the end that this leaves looking foolish by Elizabethan standard despite his lengthy efforts. By the end of the play romance and love seems to be far from the minds of the couples and we too have disregarded it as important, possibly as a result of Lucentio’s unfortunate results when he embrace romance.

This effect is definitely a result of the play’s format. The play which involves the character, the Baptist, Catherine, Bianca and so on is in fact, a play put on for a Lord called Sly. We are introduced to him in the induction of the book, so we are in fact reading a play within a play. This reduces the effect of the violence such as when Katherina breaks a lute over Hotensio’s head in Act 2. As well as some of the cruelty we see such as Petruchio’s deliberate starvation of Katherina and not allowing her to sleep, as well as his act of humiliation of her.

The lack of emotion he shows in his soliloquy at the end of Act 4, does not concern us as much because of the fact that we know this is a play. Petruchio is in fact a character being played by an actor and therefore we are unconcerned by his and others brutality. Three marriage at the end trying to promote a happy ending. However, it seems more a case of an unpredictable ending. To us this not a happy one; we see how Catherinas has been ‘broken’ by her ruling husband and the precious ‘Bianca’ is much less of an ideal Elizabthean woman. We also see how Hotensio has simply settled with a widow for money.

Which again shows a complete disregards to the true meaning of marriage, at one point he declared undying love for Bianca, now we see how fickle these words are and how they contained little truth. This reflects the same attitude which they had for the notion of love and romance. Not only was it often non existence but was also greatly misused as ways of trickery and deception. In conclusion Shakespeare implies to the reader at the end that they are a distinct set of winners and losers. Surprisingly the formidable Petruchio appears to come out one to, especially when he wins the bet at the end.

Therefore showing how the notion of love and romance is in fact not considered as important as it is today. We see that this love to these characters means financial security and gain. The emotional attachment which we relate to marriage is largely irrelevant in this play and seemingly Elizabethan society. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Taming of the Shrew section.

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Taming of the Shrew. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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