William Shakespeare lived in the Tudor era and all of his writings contain traditional old English language and mention many old ways of living and its traditions which were enjoyed by the people in that era. Throughout ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ there are many traits of that lifestyle. If we read the book now it shows how, over time people’s attitudes have changed. For example it would have been normal for people to watch bear baiting, but these days it would be considered as cruelty to animals.
Due to the changes of attitudes and values in our modern day life some of the play is not as funny as it would have been seen in the Shakespearean days. However on the other hand there are many aspects of the play which would be just as funny or even more so in this day and age. For example people would have just accepted some the behaviour which Katherina displays, however these days it would be highly unlikely that a wife would throw temper tantrums because she couldn’t have a hat.
There are so many different techniques in which Shakespeare entertains us through out his book that it is impossible to be able to tell which ones have been used to the greatest effect. If we look at the play from the perspective of a Shakespearean person then the treatment of Katherina would have probably been the funniest part of the play. In Shakespeare’s era the woman were treated with no importance and Katherina dislikes this to start of with but at the end of the book she is obeying Petruchio’s orders and becoming a ‘perfect wife’.
At the beginning when she first meets Petruchio she says to him ‘Asses are made to bear, and so are you’ then in the last scene Katherina says to Petruchio ‘Even such a woman oweth to her husband’. The difference in these two quotes shows just how much her attitude towards people changed and how Petruchio had taught her so much about having respect for people and treating them like you would like to be treated. This play is quite unusual if you look at all of Shakespeare’s writing. The Taming of the Shrew contains no songs, apart from the occasional snippets of ballads that we hear Petruchio sing after he has brought his bride home.
The only other occasion when there is music is when there is a moment when at the end of the first scene in Act V in a moment of intense affection and comes in the form of a monosyllabic jingle. It happens just as Katherina, under pressure from Petruchio leans forward and kisses him and says ‘Nay, I will give thee a kiss. Now pray thee, love thee, stay. ‘ This comment ends the struggle between the two of them and she has finally started to accept her role as a wife. Petruchio’s main way in which he attacks Katherina with is psychological.
He has heard about Katherina from all the man of Padua and they have all told him that she is a devil and her father calls ‘thou hilding of a devilish spirit’. However when Petruchio meets her, he quickly diagnoses the cause of her bad temper with apparently lots of knowledge. He believes that she has become spoilt and not yet found a man who can stand up to her. The two other aspects, and in the end the two far more important ways in which Petruchio attacks Katherina are much more subtle but more effective and often funnier.
Peter, Petruchio’s servant ahs seen a change in Petruchio’s behaviour and predicted what Petruchio is going to do. He explains his thoughts and he says, ‘He kills her in her own humour. ‘ By this Peter means that Petruchio is deliberately outdoing his wife in his behaviour and temperament. Katherina is shocked at Petruchio’s behaviour and how unpleasant his attitude is. She is particularly disgusted by the way in which he treats his servants. Petruchio’s home is run smoothly, yet he manages to find many faults. He rejects his dinner, the way in which his shoes are changed and the outfit which he ordered for Katherina.