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The Taming of the Shrew
Keeping within the imaginative boundaries of human life, without becoming overly outlandish, the comedy demonstrated in the play was often sardonic, lighthearted, and always entertaining.
The comedy revolves around a group of men and the conflict that ensues between them in the battle to win the heart of a wealthy man’s beautiful and gentle daughter, Bianca. These men disguise themselves, assume false occupations, and even hire others to deceive and charm young Bianca. Though this would normally be an easy feat of the daughter simply choosing a groom, a wrench is thrown into the gears. Bianca has a sister named Kate. A woman, who does not lack in beauty, but blessed (burdened?) with the disposition of a shark and a temper to match. It is the four men’s misfortune that Bianca cannot be married until the storm of a woman Kate weds.
This man vs. man conflict is further accentuated by this horrible stroke of luck named Kate. However, a gentleman storms onto the scene, which I believe is named Petruchio, professing his love and adoration for Kate and, against her evil will, whisks her away and makes her his wife. Soon after Bianca takes her true love, and everyone laughs at the ill fortune of he who married Kate.
This is a wonderful build up for a lesson on deception vs. honesty. Though two of the men in cooperation to win Bianca’s love found and married beautiful, modest women, their relationships seem final and destined. Meanwhile, Petruchio takes Kate away and deals with his choice honestly, simultaneously flattering her, mentally aggravating her, and depriving her of food. Though this hell ensues for sometime, there is a day where Kate begins to lose her hatred and ill ways. Tough love, huh?
This play, at its center, is about accommodation. It is about the acceptance and understanding that has to develop to enable lasting relationships. Love, without a doubt, parallels life. Without the ability to adjust, accept, and even change something in you and others, one will perish. Too will the relationship.
One thing that many of us have a hard time understanding is the relationship between passion (desire) and wanting (immediacy). So often, we get so very excited about the prospect of having, owning, something, but when we have it, we soon tire. Passion is about wanting and desiring, much more so than owning. Petruchio found something he wanted, knowing he would not easily have it. He had to break her down over a long period of time. Loving her, but keeping her in check.
Also, this play is about the difference between a book and it’s cover. All anyone could see, and with good reason, in Kate was this angry, stubborn woman. Petruchio was different and took a chance and broke her down, teaching her that she did not need to be so hard-hearted.
In all, Taming of the Shrew is a wonderful play that greatly parallels life. Not only is life, as well as the people in it, much different than it may sometimes appear, but the difficulties as well as the beauties enrich the voyages we take. Many of the things we overlook, or worse, regard as burdens, are simply extra experiences that will enrich us in many ways. After all, getting there is half the fun.