Why is the action fast paced in Act II?  What constraints and traditions are needed to be considered?(question is concerning act 2 of the play)

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare's focus is on the problems of society, namely the double standards, hypocrisy, sexism, and materialism inherent in the absurd practices of arranged marriages.

The whole play is built around this scene: suitors competing for the wealthy younger daughter.  Therefore, it must have a unity of action, place, and time.  It must take place in Baptista's home.  It must begin with Katherine's bondage of Bianca, for both women are really bound to the whims of society, suitors, and their father.  It must have violence and disguises, and many entrances and exits.  All these symbolize the chaos of arranged marriage and foreshadow Katherine and Petruchio chaotic marriage.

Enotes says it best:


Not only is the length of the act appropriate for comedy, but the fact that there is no change of venue necessitates the action being enclosed in a single scene. The staging of one long act with no change of scenery permits the action to take place rapidly. The quick pace reflects the flimflam style behind Petruchio’s courtship of Kate.

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The Taming of the Shrew

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