Contrasts In Taming Of The Shrew Essay

, Research Paper

Shakespeare loves to use contrasts in his play: these contrasts in setting, people, events, belief system help to develop the plots or themes of the play. Identify three of these contrast and explain how these help to develop the plot or the theme.

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare is one of Shakespeare’s earliest comedies. This play is about a young girl “Katherina” who acts like a shrew. In “Taming of the Shrew” one of the main ways that themes and plots are shown is by using contrasts in people, setting and events. As an example of these contrasts are the contrasts in people like Kate and Bianca, the contrasts in settings like the relationship of Kate-Petruchio and Bianca-Lucentio, and the contrasts in events like ‘the marriages of Kate and Bianca’.

The most important way that Shakespeare developed his play’s theme is through Bianca and Kate. In the beginning of the play Kate is known as a shrew and she appears harsh, cruel and frightening. Even his father is scared of her and he begging anyone to marry her, but as her relationship with petruchio grows she began to be much less of a shrew, and she become an obedient and lovely person to everyone. At the other side Bianca at first is known as a sweet and gentle person who only care about studying, but as she reach her goal, to be married her true self appears. She becomes insensitive and unkind by not coming at the call of Lucentio. In the other word she becomes almost what her sister was. By making this contrast Shakespeare developed the theme that we can not decide about people by only look at them because, what a person really is, is more important than how they look or how they seems they are.

One of the other important contrasts in this play that is help to develop theme is the contrast in setting. As an example of contrast in setting is the contrast in the Kate-Petruchio’s relationship and that of Bianca & Lucentio. When we first meet Petruchio, he is only after the money of Katherine, and accepts her harshness as simply a goal he must overcome. But as we read the play we will find out that money was not his only goal and he begins to fall in love with Katherina. The other thing is, it is true that he argues with Katherina and tried to train her but he did those for his own benefit and at last we will se that Petruchio is truly loves Katherina, and also Katherina, whom we thought would never love anyone, is truly love her husband and at the end of the story is the only wife who comes when she is beckoned. This relationship is exactly opposite of Bianca-Lucentio’s relationship. At first we see that this couple are truly in love with each other. Lucentio uses lovely words to describe Bianca like when he said: “sweet beauty”, “coral lips” or “her breath that perfumes the air” about Bianca. But at the end of the play we’ll see that when Lucentio ask Bianca to come to him she didn’t obey him and make him embarrass in front of other, and this is show that Bianca is not truly in love with Lucentio. This contrast between these two relationships will effect on theme that; what someone’s real identity is more important than what they seem to be this means that we can not say who is bad or who is good just by looking at them.

One of the other contrasts in this play is the contrast in events. An example of this is the contrast between the Kate’s marriage and Bianca’s marriage. In this play Shakespeare used two complete different marriages. In both marriages their father “Baptisa” got the big celebrations for his daughters. In Kate’s marriage she couldn’t enjoy her own marriage because of her bad attitude toward her husband, as we know Petruchio does not like the people who have bad attitude; so what he did was he made Kate to live her own marriage celebrity. In the other hand Bianca had a really good time during her marriage; however, she did not enjoy the last part of her marriage when her sister Kate thought her how she have to act with her husband. In the last part of the play Kate gave a speech about how a woman would have to show responsibility toward her husband:

I am shamed that women are so simple

to offer war where they should kneel for peace

or seek rule, supremacy, and sway,

when they are bound to serve, love, and obey


Shakespeare, by making this plot proves to us that Katherina is truly cured of her shrewishness and she is the most obedient of the three newly wed wives. This contrast in events is helps the play to develop the feeling that Katherina is truly changed from a shrew to an obedient person.

In summary, the main theme of this play that Shakespeare wants to develop is that what a person is really like is more important than how they appear to be. Taming of the shrew has many thoughtful themes, and this play also shows us how we have to act with different people. Shakespeare has used many contrasts in this play to make it easy for us to understand the play and they were really useful as well.



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