The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare’s earliest comedies, and it shares many essential characteristics with his other romantic comedies, such as Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. These characteristics include light-hearted and slapstick humor, disguises and deception, and a happy ending in which most of the characters come out satisfied. The light-heartedness of these romantic comedies contrasts sharply with the darker humor and deeper characterization of Shakespeare’s later plays, both comic and tragic. The youthfulness of the playwright can be seen in the unusual spirit of the early plays. Like the other romantic comedies, The Taming of the Shrew focuses on courtship and marriage, but, unlike most of them, it
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A servant may put on the clothes of a lord, but he remains a servant, one who must return to his place, as we see with Tranio. Likewise, Lucentio must reveal his subterfuge to his father and to Baptista before moving forward with Bianca. Kate’s development over the course of the play is basically determined by her gradual adaptation to her new social role as wife. She complies with Petruchio’s humiliating regimen of taming because she knows on some level that, whether she likes the role of wife or not, she will be happier accepting her social obligations than living as she has been at odds with everyone connected to her. In fact, the primary excitement in The Taming of the Shrew stems from its permeable social boundaries, crisscrossed continually by those who employ a disguise or a clever lie. In the end, however, the conventional order reestablishes itself, and those characters who harmonize with that order achieve personal happiness.
As well as themes, there is an extensive use of motifs, including Disguise, Domestication, and fathers and their children.
Disguise figures prominently in The Taming of the Shrew: Sly dresses as a lord, Lucentio dresses as a Latin tutor, Tranio dresses as Lucentio, Hortensio dresses as a music tutor, and the pedant dresses as Vincentio. These disguises enable the characters to disobey barriers in social position and class, and, for a time, each