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MonkeyNotes-The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
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Historical Information

The play is set in the mid-sixteenth century in Italy (Padua) and reveals many things about the Italian patriarchal society, where power and control rested solely with the male. The Italian man had great freedom, including the freedom to mistreat his wife verbally, emotionally, and physically; on the other hand, the female was expected to be subservient, dutiful, soft-spoken, and beautiful---totally pleasing to the male. Since Katherine is not any of these things at the beginning of the play, Petruchio feels behooved to "tame" her into these traits.


Although the setting is supposedly the strange and foreign location of Italy, the characters are definitely English in their speech, in their possessions, and in most of their mannerisms. Since the Elizabethans of Shakespeare’s time believed that Italians were mysterious, unruly, ill-mannered, and loud- mouthed, these characteristics are seen in the Italian characters; but the foods, such as hazel nuts, oysters, and apple tarts, are clearly British, as are such names as the Pegasus Inn and Christopher Sly.

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MonkeyNotes-The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
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