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Describe the use of pantaloon in The Taming of the Shrew.     

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r-m123 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted December 28, 2010 at 4:12 PM via web

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Describe the use of pantaloon in The Taming of the Shrew.

 

 

 

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shakespeareguru | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted December 28, 2010 at 11:22 PM (Answer #1)

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I am going to assume that you are referring to Pantalone* (a stock character from the Italian comic form called Commedia del Arte).  Pantalone was a miserly old man who was also a bit lecherous.  He often chased serving girls and tried to keep his daughter from marrying.  He was also very stingy.

In The Taming of the Shrew, Pantalone is analogous to Gremio.  In Act II, Gremio shows how miserly he is as he "battles" Tranio (disguised as Lucentio) in what he can offer Baptista for Bianca's hand.

Baptista is often considered as being derived from the Pantalone character too.  He spends much of the play "duped" by Lucentio (disguised as Cambio), who is wooing Bianca behind his back.

Many of the situations and characters in The Taming of the Shrew are very close to Commedia, which was very popular in Italy during Shakespeare's day.  And modern productions of the play often reference the physical comedy and stock costumes of the Commedia in staging Shrew.

*The only use of the word pantaloon with which I am familiar comes from pants/drawers and was coined in the 19th century, much after Shakespeare's day.

For more on Pantalone, Commedia and The Taming of the Shrew, please follow the links below.

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