Essay on The Purpose of the Induction of The Taming of The Shrew

537 Words 3 Pages
The Purpose of the Induction of The Taming of The Shrew

There has been much speculation and debate over the necessity and purpose of Shakespeare's Induction to 'The Taming of the Shrew'.

The Induction can be interpreted in various ways and a common view is that it is not essential to the play. Indeed, the play alone would suffice without it; as has occurred in various performances of 'The Taming of The Shrew'. Personally, however, I feel that the purpose of the Induction is to frame the play and introduce themes and issues that develop in the play, to the audience.

The Induction could be considered quite light and a painless approach to the otherwise darker aspects of the play. In this way
…show more content…
Even in the first scene we meet the Lord who has been hunting, possibly a subtle echo of Petruchio's fortune hunting later on. We also meet Sly, a tinker who is thrown out of the alehouse by the Hostess when he refuses to pay for broken glasses. Shakespeare seems to use a lot of characters that are of similar, yet very different positions in the Induction, as their possible counterparts in the play itself. For example, Christopher Sly undergoes a dramatic and difficult transformation in the Induction, which is not a world away from the conversion Katherina must make for her husband, also in the play. Both characters, Sly and Katherina, are taken into powerfully male dominated, patriarchal, worlds where they must change to suit and be accepted. A drunken tinker must change to fit into the comfortable surroundings of a Lord whilst a rebellious maiden must become a suitable surrounding for her husband, Petruchio.

At the end of the jest Sly returns to his natural state, however in the play Katherina's transformation is permanent because of the belief that the way she was before was unnatural and the intolerable behaviour is beaten out of her.

In the Induction, the woman's roles and behaviour are constructed by a male playwright and the solitary female is played by a young man. Indeed, the cast of plays in Shakespeare's times were predominately female with the

Related Documents