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The Edusites Guide to Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”.

Richard Gent | Monday May 22, 2023

Categories: KS5 Resources, KS5 Literature

Excerpt from The Introduction

The play ends with three newly married couples:

  • Petruccio and Katharina
  • Lucentio and her sister,
  • Bianca and Hortensio (Petruccio’s friend) and his rich widow

All are happy and content with their lot, none more so than Petruccio and Katharina, apparently. The play asks us to consider the routes their courtships and marriages have taken and the changes they have wrought within each of them.

  • The drama is, critically, a play within a play: metatheatre; the acknowledgement that the action in Padua is a play, performed by actors, who are in costume.
  • The willing suspension of disbelief is mocked, and we are asked not to take what we see literally: it is, after all, through the lens of a drunken tinker who believes he is a Lord.
  • The actors: ‘players’ are those who have arrived (‘Hamlet’ style) at the country house of an (unnamed) Lord; he and his associates have spent the day hunting.
  • He has decided to play a trick on Christopher Sly, whose dream the inner play enacts.
  • Its essence is to hoodwink Sly into believing he is a rich Lord with a beautiful wife waiting for him. It does not take long for Sly to take the bait.

So, there is already much on hunting in the play.

The players are transposed into characters now attired in Italian Renaissance costume…….

You will find pages of critical references to and learned debate about the play and an alternative version which ran concurrently with our play in the last decade of the C16th, ‘The Taming of a Shrew’.

  • It is all very interesting but not of primary…

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Kind regards, Richard Gent
Edusites Ltd

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