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University of Toronto Scarborough
Majorie Rubright

Introduction notes The Taming of the Shrew - Written in 1592 (or earlier) - Most controversial (battle between the sexes) - Consists of two interwoven plots and a frame tale - Complex structure allows for contrasts and parallels in the development of the play’s main themes - Possibility of people chaging their social identities either as a result of choice or of coercion - Frame stost: Joke on beggar/tinker Christopher sly  made to believe he’s a God - Play’s 1 2 scenes called inductions - Play within play (2 plots) o Main plot  Shrew (Katherine) tamed by fortune seeker (Petruccio) o Secondary plot  Bianca pursued by three suitors & elopes w/ one of them - Sly, Kate, Bianca united by themes of disguise and transformation - In the play, the changes in social classes are volitional and reversible - Critics question what is an act and what is real. (Petruccio and Kate) - Gap in 16 century rural England between poor labourers and wealthy landlords = Huge - Wool= one of England’s largest exports o Christopher Sly = cardmaker (makes metal combs used to prepare wool for spinning) - Induction reveals the enormous gap in wealth and education - Events in this story are drawn directly from George Gascoigne’s Supposes (1566) which itself is an adaption of a work by Ariosto I suppositi o Distinguished identities, clever servants, and gullible fathers (found in classical comedy) - Wealth crucial in this plot o Suitor’s money comes from trade mostly - 18 Century actor David Garrick produced a shortened version of the play: Catharine and Peruchio o Held stage for nearly 100 years o Interest in story understandable (both enjoyable and deeply troubling at the same time) - Hortensio, Gremio, Lucentio woo Bianca with so
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