The Taming of the Shrew
full title · The Taming of the Shrew
author · William Shakespeare
type of work · Play
genre · Romantic comedy
language · English
time and place written · Around 1592, London
date of first publication · 1623
tone · The overall tone of the play is light and comic, though the exploration of larger social questions, such as the proper relation of the sexes in marriage, lends much of the comedy a more serious tone.
settings (time) · Unspecific, though presumably sometime during the Italian Renaissance
settings (place) · Padua, a city-state in Italy prominent during the Renaissance
protagonist · There is no single protagonist; Katherine and Petruchio are the main characters.
major conflict · Petruchio’s attempt to “tame” Katherine; that is, to assert his authority in their marriage and overcome her hotheaded resistance to playing the role of his wife
rising action · Petruchio and Katherine’s early verbal conflicts; Katherine’s many scenes of shrewish behavior, including her attack on Bianca; the various disguises and subterfuges of the subplot; Katherine and Petruchio’s comical wedding
climax · There is no single moment of intense action in the play, but rather a long process of development culminating in Katherine’s fully changed behavior. It might be possible to see a climax in the wedding scene in Act III, or in Katherine’s decision in Act IV to submit to Petruchio when he says the sun is really the moon, or her agreement to throw shame to the winds and kiss him in the middle of the street in Act IV.
falling action · The banquet at Lucentio’s house in Act V, scene ii
themes · Marriage as an economic institution; the effect of social roles on individual happiness
motifs · Disguise; domestication; fathers and their children
symbols · Petruchio’s wedding costume; the haberdasher’s cap and tailor’s gown
foreshadowing · Petruchio’s declaration to Katherine in Act II that he is the man to tame her
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