Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Shakespeare: Sample Writing

[Much of this is too subjective — more a journal entry than a mini-commentary or analysis. But this does lead to the beginning of an investigation into the nature of the comedic aspects. Unfortunately, the notion of “comedy” is used here to dismiss material rather than trying to explain what the subtler joke may be. Irony is a useful concept here for trying to grasp this apparent turnaround of Kate’s, but if ironic, then what really happened? The play shows a father essentially selling his daughters, true; but does it promote the idea?]

E. N.
English 305
7 February 2001

Shakespeare’s play, The Taming of the Shrew was a funny and creative piece that I really enjoyed. It was a good story to follow after reading the political Richard III. I was most impressed by the wit and comedy in this play; I was taken by surprise. I did not think that I would be able to understand Shakespeare’s idea of funny. I assumed it would be different from what we think is funny today. However, as assumptions usually are, mine was wrong and I found myself laughing out loud in several parts. Most of those parts were scenes that included Grumio, and his confusing demeanor. I really loved the part where he comes to torture Katherina with descriptions of wonderful meals while she’s starved, only to dismiss them easily for being choleric (III.iii.16-35).

Since this play was one of comedy and irony, I was not disturbed by the sexist views that women should be slaves to their lords, or husbands. It does suggest that women are to be “tamed” and obedient, and worse yet, it shows fathers giving away their daughters for riches and wealth rather than for love, but because I read it as a comedy, and further, a comedy set in times when women were not equal to men, I excused any feminist feelings that could potentially arise. Instead, I read the sexist parts for facts of irony. Probably the most ironic/sexist part in this play is Katherine’s final speech. Here, she contradicts everything she used to be. She says, “a woman mov’d is like a fountain troubled” (V.ii.141). To hear a strong, bull-headed woman like Katherina suddenly be concerned about not looking appealing to a man is without a doubt irony in its prime. It is hard to believe she would so quickly grow “tamed” but this is just another act of comedy to me. I think this play is to be read in a lighthearted manner to appreciate its entertainment value. I did so and as a result, found it to be easy to get into and laugh at.