Taming Of The Shrew Marriage Theme Essay

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Love and Marriage in Taming of the Shrew

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The Taming Of The Shrew:  Love and Marriage               

Despite the fact that Shakespeare is mostly known for its tragedian playwrights, yet, in The Taming Of The Shrew, he once again proves that he is capable to write anything - even comedy. The Taming Of The Shrew is a play within a play. However, the play takes place towards the end of the 16th century. Most of the comedy scenes are shifted from the city to the country and back to the city. Therefore, most of the scenes took place in the city of Padua, Italy. Christopher Sly is a drunken tinker who appears in the induction of the play. Nevertheless, he is fooled by a lord stating that he is a lord and has been mad for fifteen years. Therefore, there is a play that is to be performed to the drunker. In the play there are two main characters and other minor personalities. As one of the main characters, Katherine is called a shrew, even by her father Baptista, but Katherine has a deeper character than what she seems to appear. Katherine's reactions are due to the preferences that her father resembles between her and her sister. However, as a consequence to her fathers' preference she is hurt and seeks for revenge. It is an immature response, but the only one she knows, and it serves for her dual purpose of her hurt and revenge. The transformation that she undergoes near the end of the play is not one of character, but one of attitude. She alters dramatically from the bitter accursed shrew to the obedient and happy wife when she discover that her husband loves her enough to attempt to change her for her own good, as well for his. The other main character is Pretruchio her husband. On the surface he appears to be a rough, noisy, and insensitive, one who cares nothing for Katherine's feelings so long as she has money. Yet, in the inside Petruchio's intention is not interested for her money but the challenge of capturing her because of the reputation that she has. Like a secondary character is Katherine's sister Bianca. Apparently in her gentle behavior, she is an unkind sister and through the play she is in fact a disobedient wife. She fosters her father's attitude of favoritism for herself and dislike for Katherine by playing the part of a whole victim.

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As another secondary character, there is Lucentio. He is a wealthy man devoted to Bianca for obscure reasons. He marries Bianca after going through many difficult tasks in order for them to get married. They are perhaps a typical pair of immature lovers; they think only of themselves, and each considers his individual wishes before those of his beloved. Baptista is the father of Katherine and Bianca. He is the harried father, having difficulty marrying his two daughters because one of them is a shrew. He is not, an object of sympathy, since Katherine is a shrew because of his treatment of her. He ignores the question of his daughters' happiness in seeking mates for them. He wishes, in the case of Bianca, to make a good bargain and obtain the highest possible financial, concessions from the suitors and, in Katherine's case, simply to get rid of a problem child. A minor character is Vincention. He is the father Lucentio. He is extremely fond of his son and finds himself in grief when he discovers that his son may have been harmed. He has a bad temper and he displays a worse anger when he finds out that Tranio has tricked him. Hortensio is a suitor of Bianca. He is basically a good man, but perhaps foolish. Throughout the play he declares his real identity to Petruchio and later he discovers that Bianca and Lucentio have been having a romance between them. Gremio, he is called a pantaloon and is characterized as such. As elderly gentleman, he seeks the hand of a young girl. Grumio, Petruchio's servant; he is a comic servant who provides several humor scenes. Finally, Tranio, he originally adopts Lucentio's position with some of reluctance, but he displays an increasing enthusiasm for the role as the play progresses, until he is denounced as fake by Vincentio. In the play there is a plot and subplot. In order for Bianca to get married her sister Katherine has to get married first. The plot consists of Petruchio arriving from the country with his servant, Grumio, intending to find himself a wife. He visits his old friend Hortensio, who jokingly suggest that he marry Katherine. Petruchio declares that her fortune is enough for him, regardless of her personality. Petruchio announces himself to Baptista as a suitor of Katherine and holds a stormy, private interview with the young lady, after which he sets a wedding date even though Katherine strongly objects. He then leaves for Venice to prepare for the wedding. Petruchio arrives at his wedding very late and ridiculously attired. After marrying Katherine, he forces her to return to the country with him immediately, leaving the wedding banquet to the guests. When they arrive home-cold, tired, and hungry-he refuses to let her eat or sleep. He finds fault with the meat and the making of the bed, pretending that they are not good enough for Katherine and she shall therefore have none. Petruchio is taming his wife as he is would tame an animal. However, Petruchio continues his taming. He offers to purchase finery for Katherine for a trip to her father's house, but then finds fault with all the haberdasher and a tailor have to offer, concluding that she must wear what she has already. The subplot in the play is with Bianca. Lucentio, a young man from Pisa, arrives in Padua with his servants, Tranio and Biondello, to study. He sees and falls at once in love with Bianca. Lucentio, in disguise, offers himself to Baptista as a tutor to Bianca, and Hortensio, in disguise, does likewise. To disvert, Baptista's attention from Lucentio, Tranio becomes another suitor for Bianca's hand, assuming Lucentio's identity, at his master's instruction. Baptista now informs Gremio and Tranio that whichever one of them offers the finest dowry may have Bianca in marriage. Tranio wins out, but Baptista says that he must have Lucentio's father agreement to the dowry, since it is a large amount that he cannot believe that Vincentio would be part of it. Lucentio, in the disguise of a tutor, declares himself to Bianca, who is at first cautious, but soon finds herself in love with him. Hortensio is horrified at Bianca's behavior toward Lucentio, and gives up her suit for her, declaring that he will marry a widow who has loved him for some time. Tranio persuades a Pendant to assume the role of Lucentio's father, by telling him that he is a citizen from Mantua and he is in danger in Padua and must therefore pretend to be from Pisa. The climax of the main plot is therefore, when the shrew is tamed, although she was never a real shrew. Petruchio, Katherine, and Hortensio are on the way to Baptista's house. On their way Petruchio remarks how bright the moon is, and Katherine tells him that it is the sun rather than the moon. Petruchio replies that it will be what he says it is or they will return home at once and not go to Padua. After all she agrees with him that the sun is the moon"...be it moon, or sun, or what you please to call it a rush-candle, Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me"(The Taming Of The Shrew, Act IV-scene V, lines15-17, pg.187). During their trip, they overtake Vincentio, on his way to Padua to visit his son. Petruchio calls him a young girl, and Katherine agrees that he is indeed a lovely young virgin. On their way Petruchio informs Vincentio that his son is about to marry with Katherine's sister when they last saw him. However, he thinks that they are joking with him. The climax of the subplot is when Lucentio and Bianca are married, and he admits to the deception which he practiced to gain her love. When Petruchio, Katherine, Hortensio, and Vincentio arrive in Padua and Vincentio knocks on the door, he declares himself as the father of Lucentio. Moreover, Tranio, Baptista, and Biondello pretend to not know and start calling him a lunatic, he thinks that Tranio and Biondello have murdered his son. When the officer is about to arrest the older man, Lucentio and Bianca appear and they say they are married and Lucentio explained everything that he did in order to get married with Bianca. After the confusion was solved the three newlywed couples gathered together in a banquet in Lucentio's house. Hortensio and Lucentio are doubtful that Petruchio was able to tame Katherine, therefore, they are laughing of him. Petruchio says that his wife is the most obedient one from the three of them. Nevertheless, each one of them called their wife. Bianca said that she was too busy and cannot come, the widow states that Hortensio should go her instead, and Katherine as being the most obedient she was the only one that went to her husband. In addition, Petruchio orders to Katherine to bring the other two wives to the dinning hall and delivers a lecture on the duty a wife owes her husband. After all, they agree that Petruchio has tamed quite well Katherine. Love and marriage are the concerns of Shakespeare's Taming Of The Shrew. The play offers different methods in courting a woman and choosing a mate and then coming to the terms with the mate that one has chosen. We see the differences of Petruchio-Katherine and Lucentio-Bianca. The unhappy Katherine discovers how to be a happy Katherine. Petruchio has turned her from unreasonable aggressiveness to unreasonable submission, in order to obtain a comfortable compromise. On the other hand, Bianca seems to be apparently the ideal woman and at the end of the play she seems to be unpleasant and bad-tempered, now that she is married.


Shakespeare, William. The taming Of The Shrew. New York: Pocket Books,1992.

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