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Looking Past The Humor Essay

1484 words - 6 pages

Looking past the Humor The modern perspective of entertainment as well as social issues are far fetched from the perspectives of the audiences and people of the Shakespearian era. In Taming of the Shrew Shakespeare uses humor to exploit social hierarchy issues and the issue of battle of the sexes. It is very evident that the play would be very controversial today in modern times. This play clearly brings serious social issues of Shakespeare's time to light and it exposes the imbalanced rules of this patriarchal society through humor that the modern day society cannot identify with.The Taming of the Shrew is centered on the idea of social hierarchy. In the beginning of the play we are introduced to a drunkard who is tricked into thinking he is a Lord. This cruel act of trickery is the first introduction to the rules of social hierarchy of the late sixteenth century. From a modern perspective this scene is not funny at all. Shakespeare tries to use humor to portray how people of the higher class treat people who are beneath them. "I know the boy will well usurp the grace, Voice, gait, and action of a gentle woman. I long to hear him call the drunkard husband, and how my men will stay themselves from laughter (Shakespeare 50)." Modern audiences don't think that entertainment should be deceitful. Using lies as a source of humor would not appeal to the average person today. Audiences today would feel more sympathetic and sorry that Christopher Sly is being tricked. They would much rather see the rich give to the poor and help them get out of their situation. The attitudes of people in this modern day society are geared towards the idea that everyone is equal and deserve the same rights. Even though the play does not go on to tell what happened to Christopher Sly it is fair to say that he was probably eventually humiliated.The social issue of love is incredibly significant in this play. The modern societies of today decide to marry because of love instead of wealth. From a woman's perspective the idea of your father choosing your husband for you would seem absurd. Baptista believes that the amount of wealth that Bianca's suitors are willing to give to her is based on how much they love her. On the other hand because Katherine is so shrewish he readily accepts Petruchio's offer of marriage to her. Shakespeare turns this suitor competition into a game and the women are being bought as prizes. "Gremio "˜tis now time to vent our love. Listen to me, and if you speak me fair, I'll tell you news indifferent good for either. Here is a gentleman whom by chance I met, Upon agreement from us to his liking, Will undertake to woo Katherine, Yea, and marry her if her dowry please (73)". Petruchio is actually paid by Gremio and Hortensio to marry Katherine. The modern idea of love is honest. In the eyes of our modern day society Katherine was basically being indirectly sold as a prostitute without her even knowing about it. Shakespeare really makes...

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