“It Is Impossible for a Modern Audience to Feel Comfortable with the Taming of the Shrew” with Close Reference to Shakespeare’s Presentation of Katharina, Comic Conventions and Having the Above Question in Mind, Write

Topics: The Taming of the Shrew, Audience, Audience theory Pages: 4 (1432 words) Published: February 20, 2013
“It is impossible for a modern audience to feel comfortable with the Taming of The Shrew” with close reference to Shakespeare’s presentation of Katharina, comic conventions and having the above question in mind, write about your response to the ending of the play...

In my opinion, The Taming of The Shrew tells the story of an abusive marriage and I would agree with the view that it is impossible for a modern audience to feel comfortable with the play, especially the conclusion of the story. Shakespeare’s presentation of Katharina at the end of the play seems to me to be one of a broken person; she is almost robotic in her obedience and without spirit, except for when singing the praises of wifely submission. “Thy husband is thy Lord, thy life, thy keeper, thy head, thy sovereign” is a prime example of the disturbing brainwashing Petruchio has carried out on her. This humbled ‘Kate’ is a far cry from the feisty Katharina we are first greeted by in Act 2, where she exchanges a vicious battle of words with Petruchio; “Asses are made to bear and so are you”. This phrase in itself shows that she is fearless, and defies her society’s conventions, cursing at strangers; a sad contrast to the plays ending, where she has totally conformed to what’s expected of her. The ending of the play also contains very little comedy, with the exception of the argument as to who is the real Vincentio, and the fight between Kate and the Widow. This is because the Taming of the shrew defies most Shakespearian comedy conventions, as the marriage takes place midway the play, rather than at then end as was traditional. I believe that this adds to the discomfort of the modern audience, as after the supposed ‘happy ending’ we are faced with the harsh reality of Petruchio’s treatment of Kate.

Shakespeare presents Katharina as completely changed by the end of the play. At first she is wild and seemingly untameable; we see her tie up her sister and argue violently with both Petruchio and...
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