Taming of the Shrew Themes
Kate and her taming suitor, Petruchio, use barbed language and
Hi! I'm Becky Beth Benedict and I'm here for About.com. Today, we're going to talk about themes in The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare.Shakespeare's comedy The Taming of the Shrew tells the story of the wooing and wedding of sisters, sweet Bianca, and shrewish Kate. There are many rich themes in this play, some of the major themes explored this tale are disguise, language and social roles.The theme of disguise is present from the first scene when drunken tinker Christopher Sly passes out, becoming the victim of a practical joke as others disguise him a wealthy lord, so when he awakes they convince him he is truly a lord who has been crazy thinking he was a tinker and the following play is put on for his enjoyment.Two of Bianca's suitors disguise themselves to spend more time with her. Hortensio takes on the cloak of a music teacher and the educated Lucentio dons the role of an academic tutor. Disguise is used to accomplish something for the story and /or the characters that they would not have been able to obtain on their own.Kate and her taming suitor, Petruchio use barbed language and puns to spar with each other. They turn the other's words against them. Lucentio uses Latin to court Bianca and hides his words of love in the learned language. Petruchio focuses on language through word choice as he puts the finishing touches on taming Kate by convincing her to call the sun the moon. And of course, there is the language of Shakespeare's work itself which has stood the test of time as The Taming of the Shrew was written in 1593.Many social role examples are present in this play including the position of the oldest sister, Kate, being mandated as the first to marry.The tutors take on a different social role in the world of the play being given closer access to the young women. The social roles of the gentleman who have wealth are considerably higher than those who do not, hence Petruchio and Hortesnio's desires to marry wealthy women.Thanks for watching! To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.