Taming of the Shrew
AP Language and Composition
23 February 2013
Taming of the Shrew Essay: In the critical essay “Role-Playing in the Taming of the Shrew”, author Richard Henze argues that William Shakespeare’s play, “The Taming of the Shrew”, begins as part of that jest and as a play, a pretense, within the pretense of Sly 's role as lord” (Henze). Henze also goes on to state, “What Petruchio does during… the taming of Kate is like the Lord with Sly”. As evident in both the induction and play, manipulation contributes to a majority of the comedy that ensues between characters, leading to conflict, character development and plot progression with Kate and Petruchio, and Sly and the Lord; revealing its’ ability to make both the plays’ and inductions’ events similar. In the induction of the play, Christopher Sly, a poor drunkard, stumbles out of a bar and passes out in a pile of garbage. As a Lord and his servants pass by and witness Sly in the garbage, they decide to play a prank on him; bringing him to the Lord’s chambers and convincing him that he has been asleep for fifteen years. Although Sly emerges as the drunkard from the trash heap, the persuasion of the Lord, the Servingmen and Bartholomew (as a Page) eventually lead Sly to lose his accent and speak in prose, such as a stereotypical noble should.
Am I a lord, and have I such a lady? Or do I dream? Or have I dreamed till now? I do not sleep: I see, I hear, I speak, I smell sweet savors and I feel soft things. Upon my life, I am a lord indeed and not a tinker nor Christopher Sly (Ind.ii.68-73).
“However quickly the beggar forgets himself…we do not forget that the beggar is only a beggar; however real Sly is to himself as lord, he is not a real lord to us.” (Henze) The dramatic irony that situates itself in the audience in the Induction provides an air of comic relief that is also apparent in the antics of Kate and Petruchio. The Taming of the Shrew, acted by the players welcomed by the
Cited: 1. Shakespeare, William. The Taming of the Shrew. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Washington Square Press, 1992. Print. 2. Henze, Richard. "Role-Playing in The Taming of the Shrew." Shakespearean Criticism. Southern Humanities Review, 1970. Web. 10 Feb. 2013.