Use of Puns and Metaphors in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew

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The Taming of the Shrew, written by William Shakespeare, features an abundant number of puns and metaphors which are used in several different ways throughout the play. Among the most widely used metaphors and puns in the play are sexual, food, animal, and word play puns and metaphors. (I:i,31-33) "Let's be no stoics nor no stocks, or so devote to Aristotle's checks as Ovid be an outcast quite abjurd". The first sexual metaphor in the play is spoken by Tranio to Lucentio. In saying this to Lucentio, Tranio means he does not want to put aside his emotions and desire, and completely devote his life to Aristotle's teachings while ignoring Ovid's poems. The quote is a sexual metaphor because Tranio is saying although he wants to study, he also wants to have sex and not become deprived of life's pleasures.

The largest contributor of sexual puns and metaphors in the play is Petruchio. A vast majority of the sexual puns and metaphors, if not spoken by Petruchio, revolve around him. (I:ii,73-75) "She moves me not, or not removes at least affection’s edge in me, were she as rough as are the swelling Adriatic seas." Spoken by Petruchio to Hortensio in regards to Katherine's harshness, Petruchio tells Hortensio even if Katherine were as rough as the Adriatic seas, he would still be able to handle her. The quote is a sexual metaphor in saying even if Katherine's vagina was as rough and moist as the Adriatic seas, she would not be able to remove his erection. (I:ii,96-97) "For I will board her, though she chide as loud as thunder when the clouds in autumn crack." Petruchio tells Hortensio in this quote that he will go after Katherine regardless of the fact that she is as loud as thunder. This quote is a ship metaphor as well as a sexual met...

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...ruchio is trying to control her and manipulate her.

With the introduction of Petruchio and Grumio, a series of puns on the word "knock" come into play. (I:ii,5-12)

Petruchio-"Here, Grumio, knock I say"

Grumio-"Knock, sir? whom should I knock? is there any man has rebused your Worship?"

When Petruchio tells Grumio to knock on Hortensio's door, Grumio takes it as if Petruchio wants him to hit Petruchio, and therein lies the pun on the word knock. When Grumio continues to fool around with the pun, Petruchio replies, (I:ii,16-18) "Faith, sirrah, an you’ll not knock, I’ll ring it. I’ll try how you can sol, fa, and sing it." Telling Grumio that he will hit him if he won't knock on the door, there is a musical metaphor because Grumio will not actually sing the musical scale of sol, fa. By this Petruchio means he will see how loud Grumio will yell when he hits Grumio.
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