Most of thecomedy 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 madfor fifteen years. Therefore, there is a play that is to be performed to thedrunker. In the play there are two main characters and other minorpersonalities.
As one of the main characters, Katherine is called a shrew, evenby her father Baptista, but Katherine has a deeper character than what she seemsto appear. Katherine’s reactions are due to the preferences that her fatherresembles 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, butthe only one she knows, and it serves for her dual purpose of her hurt andrevenge.
The transformation that she undergoes near the end of the play is notone of character, but one of attitude. She alters dramatically from the bitteraccursed shrew to the obedient and happy wife when she discover that her husbandloves her enough to attempt to change her for her own good, as well for his. Theother main character is Pretruchio her husband. On the surface he appears to bea rough, noisy, and insensitive, one who cares nothing for Katherine’s feelingsso long as she has money. Yet, in the inside Petruchio’s intention is notinterested for her money but the challenge of capturing her because of thereputation 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 playshe is in fact a disobedient wife. She fosters her father’s attitude offavoritism for herself and dislike for Katherine by playing the part of a wholevictim. As another secondary character, there is Lucentio. He is a wealthy mandevoted to Bianca for obscure reasons.
He marries Bianca after going throughmany difficult tasks in order for them to get married. They are perhaps atypical pair of immature lovers; they think only of themselves, and eachconsiders his individual wishes before those of his beloved. Baptista is thefather of Katherine and Bianca. He is the harried father, having difficultymarrying his two daughters because one of them is a shrew. He is not, an objectof sympathy, since Katherine is a shrew because of his treatment of her.
Heignores the question of his daughters’ happiness in seeking mates for them. Hewishes, in the case of Bianca, to make a good bargain and obtain the highestpossible 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 thefather Lucentio. He is extremely fond of his son and finds himself in grief whenhe discovers that his son may have been harmed. He has a bad temper and hedisplays a worse anger when he finds out that Tranio has tricked him.
Hortensiois 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 hediscovers that Bianca and Lucentio have been having a romance between them. Gremio, he is called a pantaloon and is characterized as such. As elderlygentleman, he seeks the hand of a young girl.
Grumio, Petruchio’s servant; he isa comic servant who provides several humor scenes. Finally, Tranio, heoriginally adopts Lucentio’s position with some of reluctance, but he displaysan increasing enthusiasm for the role as the play progresses, until he isdenounced as fake by Vincentio. In the play there is a plot and subplot. Inorder 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 herfortune is enough for him, regardless of her personality. Petruchio announceshimself to Baptista as a suitor of Katherine and holds a stormy, privateinterview with the young lady, after which he sets a wedding date even thoughKatherine strongly objects. He then leaves for Venice to prepare for thewedding. Petruchio arrives at his wedding very late and ridiculously attired. After marrying Katherine, he forces her to return to the country with himimmediately, leaving the wedding banquet to the guests.
When they arrivehome-cold, tired, and hungry-he refuses to let her eat or sleep. He finds faultwith the meat and the making of the bed, pretending that they are not goodenough for Katherine and she shall therefore have none. Petruchio is taming hiswife as he is would tame an animal. However, Petruchio continues his taming. Heoffers to purchase finery for Katherine for a trip to her father’s house, butthen finds fault with all the haberdasher and a tailor have to offer, concludingthat 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 andBiondello, to study. He sees and falls at once in love with Bianca. Lucentio, indisguise, offers himself to Baptista as a tutor to Bianca, and Hortensio, indisguise, does likewise. To disvert, Baptista’s attention from Lucentio, Traniobecomes another suitor for Bianca’s hand, assuming Lucentio’s identity, at hismaster’s instruction.
Baptista now informs Gremio and Tranio that whichever oneof 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 partof it. Lucentio, in the disguise of a tutor, declares himself to Bianca, who isat first cautious, but soon finds herself in love with him. Hortensio ishorrified 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. Traniopersuades a Pendant to assume the role of Lucentio’s father, by telling him thathe is a citizen from Mantua and he is in danger in Padua and must thereforepretend to be from Pisa.
The climax of the main plot is therefore, when theshrew is tamed, although she was never a real shrew. Petruchio, Katherine, andHortensio are on the way to Baptista’s house. On their way Petruchio remarks howbright the moon is, and Katherine tells him that it is the sun rather than themoon. Petruchio replies that it will be what he says it is or they will returnhome at once and not go to Padua. After all she agrees with him that the sun isthe moon”.
. . be it moon, or sun, or what you please to call it arush-candle, Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me”(The Taming Of TheShrew, Act IV-scene V, lines15-17, pg. 187).
During their trip, they overtakeVincentio, on his way to Padua to visit his son. Petruchio calls him a younggirl, and Katherine agrees that he is indeed a lovely young virgin. On their wayPetruchio informs Vincentio that his son is about to marry with Katherine’ssister 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 admitsto the deception which he practiced to gain her love. When Petruchio, Katherine,Hortensio, and Vincentio arrive in Padua and Vincentio knocks on the door, hedeclares himself as the father of Lucentio.
Moreover, Tranio, Baptista, andBiondello pretend to not know and start calling him a lunatic, he thinks thatTranio and Biondello have murdered his son. When the officer is about to arrestthe older man, Lucentio and Bianca appear and they say they are married andLucentio explained everything that he did in order to get married with Bianca. After the confusion was solved the three newlywed couples gathered together in abanquet in Lucentio’s house. Hortensio and Lucentio are doubtful that Petruchiowas able to tame Katherine, therefore, they are laughing of him. Petruchio saysthat 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 cannotcome, the widow states that Hortensio should go her instead, and Katherine asbeing the most obedient she was the only one that went to her husband. Inaddition, Petruchio orders to Katherine to bring the other two wives to thedinning hall and delivers a lecture on the duty a wife owes her husband. Afterall, they agree that Petruchio has tamed quite well Katherine. Love and marriageare the concerns of Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew.
The play offers differentmethods in courting a woman and choosing a mate and then coming to the termswith the mate that one has chosen. We see the differences of Petruchio-Katherineand Lucentio-Bianca. The unhappy Katherine discovers how to be a happyKatherine. Petruchio has turned her from unreasonable aggressiveness tounreasonable submission, in order to obtain a comfortable compromise.
On theother hand, Bianca seems to be apparently the ideal woman and at the end of theplay she seems to be unpleasant and bad-tempered, now that she is married. BibliographyShakespeare, William. The taming Of The Shrew. New York: Pocket Books,1992.