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How do gender roles affect
the attitudes of the characters, and how do these roles surface
in the play? Most of the men seem to have a particular idea about
how a wife should behave, but do their preconceptions extend to
all women? How do the women react to these expectations? Are the
women systematically oppressed, or do they subtly balance the men’s power?
The play is essentially a
comedy, and yet more serious questions about social issues often
overshadow its comic features. How does humor function in The
Taming of the Shrew? Note especially the two wooing scenes,
by Petruchio (Act II, scene i) and Lucentio (Act III, scene i).
Why does Shakespeare include so many of the play’s best comic devices in
Examine the characters of
Hortensio and Gremio. Why do they fail where Petruchio and Lucentio
succeed? Does their failure stem from their reasons for wanting
to get married or from other facets of their personalities?
In general, the plots of Shakespeare’s
plays follow a certain pattern, in which Act III contains a major
turning point in the action and events that “inevitably” lead to
the climax of action and the wrap-up of plot lines in the fifth
and final act. How does The Taming of The Shrew conform
to, or deviate from, this pattern? How substantially do the events
of the third act—the marriage scene between Petruchio and Kate, and
the wooing scene between Lucentio and Bianca—affect the action of
the rest of the play?
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Taming of the Shrew!