The Taming of the Shrew Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Can you explain some examples of irony in The Taming of the Shrew, please?

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William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote the Elizabethan comedy The Taming of the Shrew in the late sixteenth century. To begin any analysis of the play, the reader must examine the plot within the context of the era in which it was written. The basic premise of the drama would be considered sexist, offensive, and unacceptable in the modern era. In Shakespeare’s day, audiences would have accepted sexist attitudes toward women in this comedic play as commonplace. Thus, in order to properly examine the ironic circumstances presented by the author, the twenty-first-century reader must view the play with sixteenth-century eyes.

The plot of The Taming of the Shrew centers on the notion that women may be manipulated by men at will. This concept is part of what is known as the “Elizabethan World Order.” Women were considered what might be called second-class citizens today and were forced to a lower place in society with respect to the status men. As such, they were expected to be subservient...

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