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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. In my opinion the way in which Shakespeare twisted the language and cleverly entwined it into the natural flow of conversation makes the whole thing seem very realistic. A good example is in Act4, Scene 1, where Grumio says to Curtis, ‘Lend thine ear’ because Curtis is desperate for the gossip and he believes that Grumio is about to tell him so he leans forward.
Instead Grumio punches Curtis’ ear. The book is written in such a style, that today some people might even find it offensive. The book sends out a message of traditional Tudor attitudes; they believed that women were far weaker than men – both physically and mentally. Today in modern society, people tend to regard men and women as equal. Women have fought for their rights and have earned greater respect and recognition from the community. The book is very sexist and there are many quotes which support this.
Katherina is a very strong-minded woman but by the end she has accepted her role as a wife and she talks to Petruchio like he is her king. Katherina says ‘Come, come you froward and unable worms’ this particularly supports the old ways of thinking and the male attitude towards women. The comedy comes from having the type characters who do not change at all throughout and so their actions and reactions are thoroughly predictable. Baptista, the sister’s father is the classic example of a character that is predictable in his actions and reactions throughout the book.
He is the character who bears the brunt of all the trickery carried out by the younger characters and is continually confused about what is going on because he seems to know the least. We see this when Bianca asks his pardon after secretly marrying Lucentio and he is confused as to what she is talking about. Gremio is the next most predictable alongside Baptista. Gremio is the aged suitor to Bianca and hilariously funny to watch because he remains so consistent is his actions and reactions throughout the play.
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 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.