Act 2 Scene 1 of Taming of the Shrew: Analysis

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How significant is Act 2 Scene 1 to the Taming of the Shrew as a whole and how does this scene contribute to the play’s comic potential?

William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ follows two rather different sisters and their fathers attempt to marry them off. Bianca is the beautiful sister, fair and virtuous, a symbol of purity backed up by the fact her name means white in Italian. Kate on the other hand is the older sister, foul and bad tempered, a women no man would want to tame, she is the ‘shrew’. To get the dowry and be able to marry Bianca off Baptista must first marry off the older Kate. There are many suitors for Bianca and for Kate there are none. This provides for comedy in itself and ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ doesn’t fail to deliver in the quest to marry off the girls! Katarina is widely known throughout Padua for being a Shrew. She is prone to a fit of anger, in which she may attack, whoever enrages her. In Bianca’s case in the first scene, the attack is physical, Katharina charges at Bianca which is very funny indeed, it is also a fantastic example of Shakespeare’s stagecraft as this would be hilarious to perform on stage. Kate is jealous of Bianca, which could be one of the sources of her unhappiness though most of the play’s characters simply think Katarina is just rather ill tempered, it is certainly reasonable to believe that Katarina’s undesirable behaviour stems from her problems. These could be a number of things such as anxiety which may also stem from feelings about the fact everyone wants to marry her sister, but not her, the fear that she may never win a husband. Katherina feels out of place in her society. Due to her intelligence and ability to be self sufficient, she is not willing to play the role of the maiden daughter and is hounded and ridiculed by society for this. Petruchio is a gentleman from Verona. He is loud, arrogant, selfish, quick-witted, fickle and frequently drunk, he came to Padua “to wive...
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