The Taming of the Shrew Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

The Taming of the Shrew book cover
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What are some comic elements in act one of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew?

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The play opens with a comic scene that sets up the central action of The Taming of the Shrew. In this scene, a nobleman finds the drunken tinker Christopher Sly passed out from drinking and has him dressed up as a person of noble birth. He has his page, Bartholomew, disguise himself as a woman to play the part of Sly's wife and instructs Bartholomew to act excited when Sly wakes up out of supposed dementia. The nobleman also hires a troupe of traveling players to perform a play—which happens to be Shrew—for Sly.

From the start, the audience is let into the joke on Sly's status that Sly is clueless about. We are thus anticipating Sly's reaction when he wakes up. More than this, however,...

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