Act 1 Scene 1 of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew
Shakespeare's Taming of the shrew Act 1 contains two parts, including the induction. None of Shakespeare's other plays begins with this, in which a full five-act play is performed within another play.
The induction is a separate story, but shows relevance in introducing the main themes that Shakespeare uses in the rest of the play. The style of the structure is to give the reader an insight to the rest of the story, by creating a context.
The induction provides themes of relationships, transformation, deception, manipulation and comedy establishing them for the rest of the play. The theme of relationship is shown through ...view middle of the document...
He jokes about transformation and uses sly as entertainment, "I will practise of this drunken man". The lord's practical joke on Sly reinforces one of the central themes of the main play. Sly is used as entertainment, as the play is supposed to be entertainment for the audience. Shakespeare uses the structural technique of binary oppositions to show Sly and the Lord's characteristics. Their relationship emphasises relationships of power later on in the play. The Lord intends to tame Sly, by seeing if someone can be transformed if given a different class. This insight's into the rest of the story as Petruchio aims to tame Katherina and establishes this theme. The deception is shown through comedy, as Sly's reaction to the situation is comical. Transformation is shown through Sly's attitude change when he's presented with this new lifestyle, "upon my life, I am a Lord indeed".
The Lord's language is informal, commanding and descriptive, "Say, what is it your honour will command?" Deception is shown through the Lords practical joke on Sly. The end of the induction provides a vital question for the reader, was sly in fact manipulating the Lord at the end, or did he actually believe he is a Lord? This subsequently reflects to when the reader questions if Katherina was manipulating Petruchio at the end of the play, establishing the main themes.
The characters in the induction could be described as representing characters in the main play. Sly could be representing Petruchio, as they are both out for all they can get, (Sly is taking the chance of being a Lord to his advantage, and Petruchio marries Katherina for the dowry). Also, it could be said that because Sly is watching this play, it is a learning experience for him and it changes his attitude to women. Petruchio also changes his attitude to Katherina at the end, as he no longer feels he has to tame her. The Lord and Sly could also be representing Lucentio and Tranio's, as both plots involve them changing roles, (Sly becomes the Lord, and Tranio becomes Lucentio). Sly and Katherina also link to each other. Sly's story dramatizes the idea that a person's environment and the way he or she is treated by others determines his or her behaviour, an idea that Katherine's story in the main play also shows this. The lord portrays Sly's new role as having no will of his own. The lord's huntsman emphasizes this when asked if Sly would fall for the deception and forget himself he replies, "Believe me, lord, I think he cannot choose". The huntsman's words could apply to Katherine as well, as two wealthy and powerful menher father, Baptista, and her suitor, Petruchio, control her. Katherine is forced to play the part of a wife, which she initially rejects. The suggestion that Katherine, like Sly, "cannot choose" suggests that she is as much a plaything of Petruchio as Sly is of the lord. The Induction also introduces the topic of marriage into the play. Sly resists all the servants' attempts to convince...