The Taming of the Shrew


William Shakespeare

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The Taming of the Shrew: Style 1 key example

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Explanation and Analysis:

Shakespeare wrote The Taming of the Shrew with the supposition that audience members would encounter it first as a theatrical production. It was created with performance foremost in mind; because of this, those who watch the play and those who read the play will necessarily interpret its stylistic elements through a different lens. In a stage production of The Taming of the Shrew, actors convey humor to the audience through the physical mannerisms and interactions between their characters.

Those who read the play instead of watching it live miss out on these physical interactions, with the effect of Shakespeare's comedic tone relying entirely on writing style. Chief among these stylistic elements in facilitating comedy is dramatic irony. Shakespeare utilizes this device frequently, with multiple instances occurring throughout the text. This stylistic choice allows the audience to be in on a joke that not all of the characters onstage are in on.

In addition to employing dramatic irony throughout The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare also frequently includes allusions to classical antiquity. This elevated style, typical in dramas of the time period, contrasts heavily with the bawdier language and comedic elements that run throughout the play.