Identify and explain an example of a humorous misunderstanding or slapstick comedy in The Taming of the Shrew in Act 1.

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, this play is full of humorous misunderstandings. There are definitely no shortage for you to identify! If you are focusing on Act I, however, I would have to pick Act I scene ii and in particular the immense confusion that occurs when the three would-be suitors to Bianca, Horentsio, Gremio and Tranio (disguised as Lucentio), hear each other's plans for how they are going to be successful.

Hortensio is talking to his friend Petruchio telling him of his plan to disguise himself as a schoolmaster and woo Bianca, when Gremio enters in with Lucentio disguised as a school master. Gremio plans to use Lucentio to woo Bianca on his behalf. Of course, both of them are completely unaware that Lucentio will be doing his own wooing and will not woo on behalf of anyone else. The misunderstandings increase when Tranio enters, pretending to be Lucentio, saying it is his desire to woo Bianca as well.

Lots of confusion results and misinterpretations of this situation, leading to great hilarity and curiosity on the part of the audience as we await to see how this situation will develop.

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The Taming of the Shrew

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