William Shakespeare’s Romantic Comedy the Taming of the Shrew

The following sample essay will be about William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy The Taming of the Shrew. Read the introduction, body and conclusion of the essay, scroll down.

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.

Act 1, Scene 1 shows how Elizabathean marriages come about, and who is in charge. Unlike today’s romance and marriage the father, of the bride controls who and how the pre-nuptial and marriage plans happen.

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The fact that Taming of the Shrew starts with talk of courtship and marriage encourages the opinion of that the play is a romantic comedy, but as the play continues we see various evidence that this is untrue. The notion of love and romance is almost dismissed from the start when we see how that how Baptist controls the whole affair of marriage.

We see how the daughters are to take little part in the agreement of marriage. Taming of the Shrew revolves around the antics of finding a partner for Katherina, as she has the reputation of being a shrew, and unappealing to the men; “unless you were of gentler, milder mould….. ” as said by Hortensio, we see clearly how the ideal Elizabethan woman was the silent kind. At the end of Act 1, scene 1, we see how Lucentio has fallen in love with Bianca, and swapped places with his servant Tranio, in an attempt to woo Bianca, but at the same time the allow Tranio to bargain with Baptist.

This seems to be our first example of romance, however, Lucentio may seem love struck and full of romance but the underlying theme of the scence still money. This is always a major theme throughout the play, as is the behaviour of Elizabethan women. Gremio shows how little they think of Katherina and also how money is so important when they say “Thou her father is very rich, any man is so very a fool to be married to hell… ” The above lines are a taster of what is to come, and gives us an insight into just how financial gain is such a major element of marriage.

The power of the men is also shown in this scene, Baptist is not only passed the duty of finding Katherina a man, but also is bargaining profusely to get the best deal on his “young, modest” daughter Bianca. Scene 1, gives us clues to how the play will continue in unromantic deception and bargaining. Not only have we seen little romance, towards the women, but we see how and disliked woman is treated with extreme contempt. Scene 2 introduces us to Petruchio, a friend of Hortensio, has come to Padua to marry a rich woman. He is told of Katherina, but at the same time warned of her shrewish nature.

However, Petruchio is not dissuaded by the reputation Katherina has; “I come to wive it wealthily in Padua, if wealthily then happily in Padua”. Petruchio’s attitude shows how is willing to marry solely on the basis of money. He comes across as confident and determine, but at the same time unromantic in his values. 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. When ever it is used we see signs of trickery and bargaining, even the acceptance of marriage from Katherina is a trick despite her protesting Petruchio convinces Baptista to start the marriage plans

” I will unto Venice, to buy a apparel ‘gainst the wedding day. Provide the fest father and bid the guest…” Katherina has refused but Baptista could not be happier; “Good send you joy, Petruchio, ’tis a match”. The speedy proposal and agreement of marriage was extremely fast, by the first meeting Petruchio and Katherina were to be married on the following Sunday. This again highlights how love within a marriage was very unimportant. Love presumably was forced or pretended for the sake of a happy marriage.

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William Shakespeare’s Romantic Comedy the Taming of the Shrew. (2017, Nov 19). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-baptista-and-petruchio/

William Shakespeare’s Romantic Comedy the Taming of the Shrew
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