The Taming of the Shrew: A Comedic Approach

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Tragedy, irony and modernism are only a few interpretations of the valued play The Taming of the Shrew by the respected writer William Shakespeare. However, one of the most intriguing and popular of these analyses is comedy. Shakespeare is recognized for writing several plays with comedic genres, a few of which include Much Ado About Nothing and The Comedy of Errors. Comedy, being a complex genre, is composed of many different concepts. This particular play can be interpreted as a Shakespearian comedy, a screwball comedy, a farce, or slapstick.
A Shakespearian comedy is made up of primarily five components. Cross-dressing and disguising constitute the first of these factors, which is immediately evident in the Induction, where two characters entirely transform into different identities. One example is Christopher Sly, a tinker who is convinced he is a Lord. This becomes apparent in his query “Am I a Lord…?” (Ind.2.68) to which his servants respond by saying “O, how we joy to see your wit restored!” (Ind.2.78). In the same scene we also have a page dressed up as a lady because he was commanded to do so by his Lord. The Lord says “And see him dressed in all suits like a lady.” (Ind.1.106). Shakespeare incorporates this particular male playing a female into his play to further add humor to it. It also foreshadows that the rest of the play will have characters dressed up as people they are not supposed to be. The first character in The Taming of the Shrew who adopt a pseudo identity is Lucentio, who pretends to be Cambio, a schoolmaster, so he may pursue Bianca’s love. His servant, Tranio, who dresses up proudly as him, assists him in his venture. This is made explicit when Tranio says, “I am content to be Lucentio” (1.1.216). The pu...

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...e, not for an age, but for all time”, making this play enjoyable from whichever perspective it is approached.

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