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Mr Alex Carter

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Carter09
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William Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the shrew’ consists of disorder which is further enhanced by the comic devices. Confusion is prominent throughout Shakespeare’s plays, for example ‘The comedy of errors’ and ‘Macbeth’. The disarrangement would be expected by an Elizabethan audience; however the structure of the play subverts traditional, more conventional plays and suggests disorder in itself. There are various comic techniques that Shakespeare utilises, the most significant being deception, most of the characters are able to transgress past social boundaries in order to get their way, which ultimately causes disorder. He is able to use both subtle and obvious techniques to cater for all of his audience.
Shakespeare immediately presents his audience with this idea of disorder through the induction; the chaos at the start is further emphasized by comic techniques. Although the induction would be highly amusing for an audience, it does highlight that a person’s behaviour can quickly change depending on how they are treated. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony not only to evolve comedy but to engage the audience, when Sly says ‘well, bring our lady hither to our sight, and once again a pot o’th’smallest ale’. As well as being bawdy the quotation epitomizes the idea of gender roles, however Shakespeare establishes dramatic irony as ‘our lady’ is one of the page boys. The aspect of disorder is developed by the disguise, and tricking Sly. Shakespeare through the induction might be challenging the traditional roles of men and woman, Sly is at first preoccupied with making sense of his outrageous change of circumstances, as soon as he discovers the ‘lady’, he immediately stops caring whether his situation is real or fantastical. The induction in itself is a form of disorder as it does not have anything to do with the main plot; however this interpretation could be challenged by the opinion that it forebodes central themes like marriage and deception. Another comic construction is the subtle irony; this is when Shakespeare changes Sly’s speech pattern to verse, normally spoken by Shakespeare’s nobler, important characters, but Shakespeare further affirms the disorder and the comedy element of deception. The disarray is maintained in Act 1 scene 1 where the audience is introduced to the brute that is Katherina. In this scene the disorder is evoked from Katherina, and Shakespeare further asserts the disorder through comical responses of other characters. This occurs when Hortensio says ‘From all such devils, good lord deliver us!’ Gremio echoes this ‘and me too, good lord!’ The repetition provides the comedy as Katherina’s bad reputation is questioned more than once. The use of religious imagery ‘devils’ likens Katherina to a witch and in the Elizabethan times wizardry was a big concern to the whole of society. This might have caused a certain element of tension in the audience; the comic discomfort would exacerbate the transgressive and disorderly behavior of Katherina. The anarchy is evolved from her behavior and is developed through the use of comedy such as irony concluded by dialogue and structure. In one of Katherina’s verses, Shakespeare deliberately constructs this in iambic pentameter. He subverts the writing technique as traditional it was found in love poetry. Here Shakespeare creates juxtaposition as Katherina’s comments do not conform to how she is saying it. Other themes that are present are mockery and Slapstick, particularly when Katherina says ‘comb your noddle with a three-legged stool...and use you like a fool’ the rhyme intensifies her transgressive, unsocial intentions. This use of slapstick would have been favorable with the ‘groundlings’, as this form of comedy is very basic which would be easier to comprehend and engages the idea of ‘schadenfreude’. The apparentness of slapstick further condemns her atypical behavior.…...

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