Find and example of a joke between Grumio and Curtis in Act IV Scene I of The Taming of the Shrew.

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Posted on (Answer #1)

One of my favourites from this scene is when Grumio rather takes advantage of Crutis to trick him and get him close enough to give him a cuff rather than a story, as he promises. A lot of the humour that we find in Shakespeare, especially in the subplots, is actually based on physical humour and slapstick, which it is sometimes hard to realise if we are only studying a play from the text itself and can't see a production of it to help us imagine what it would or could look like on stage. However, there are clear stage directions that help us to think through what this particular joke would look like. Note how the text presents this joke:

CURTIS: Let's ha't, good Grumio.

GRUMIO: Lend thine ear.


GRUMIO: There. [He cuffs Curtis.]

We can imagine the surprised yelp that Curtis would give and his aggrieved response when he says "This 'tis to feel a tale, not to hear a tale."

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