Theme of the Taming of the Shrew

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Caitlin Failla
Period 6
May 13, 2013

The theme of The Taming of the Shrew is that social roles affect individual happiness. This is because every person in this play has his or her own kind of social role. These roles come with how characters should be treated and their expectations of how they should act. Social positions are defined by age, gender, wealth, education and, where they are brought up. These so called rules are made by friends, family and, lastly society. So, in the beginning of this play there is a character named Sly is tinker. Sly seems unhappy and is an angry drunk. So the lord tricks Sly into thinking that Sly himself is a lord. Sly has a change of attitude because of having a very high social position. He was first drinking so much to get drunk to after that being nice and saying thank you. Katharina is another main character who struggles with her social roles. Katharina wants nothing to do with her upper class position. This is why she is very shrew like. She does not want live up to her behavioral expectations of her society. She deals with mean and cruel disapproval from her society. In the end, society’s happiness depends on everyone playing his or her prescribed roles. The play has the idea that a person’s apparel determines their social position. A servant could put on clothes as an upper class tutor but in the end that person is still a servant. It is like this with Tranio who is also Lucentio has to give up his cover in the end to be able to get married with Bianca.
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