The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

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Identify and explain an example of a humorous misunderstanding or slapstick comedy in The Taming of the Shrew.

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In Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, we see humorous misunderstanding and slapstick in Act II, scene i.

Petruchio has been encouraged to woo and wed Katharina, the shrew in the story. He is drawn by her fine dowry. Petruchio meets with the girl's father, Baptista, and they settle upon the financial details of the marriage. Petruchio is interested in beginning his courtship immediately, and we have learned he intends to flatter her into a good humor.

Katharina and Petruchio meet, and thus begins the battle. I have seen this play staged, and the slapstick comedy is present as Petruchio makes advances toward Katharina, and she physically side-steps his attempts, turning his words back on him by twisting their meaning, while also throwing things at him. A great deal of the slapstick humor would depend on the physical "blocking" of the players.

In this part of the play, there is also a moment when Katharina slaps Petruchio and he warns her not to do so again. Their battle then continues...

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