The Taming of the Shrew Contents
- Shakespeare, William
- 1564 - 1582: William Shakespeare's Stratford Beginnings
- 1582 - 1592: William Shakespeare's Marriage, Parenthood and Early Occupation
- 1592 - 1594: William Shakespeare's Life In London, part 1
- 1594 - 1611: William Shakespeare's Life In London, part 2
- 1594 - 1611: William Shakespeare's Life In London, part 3
- 1611 - 1616: William Shakespeare - Back to Stratford
- Social / political context
- Religious / philosophical context
- The theatrical context
- The Taming of the Shrew Induction Scene 1
- The Taming of the Shrew Induction Scene 2
- The Taming of the Shrew Act 1 Scene 1
- The Taming of the Shrew Act 1 Scene 2
- The Taming of the Shrew Act 2 Scene 1
- The Taming of the Shrew Act 3 Scene 1
- The Taming of the Shrew Act 3 Scene 2
- The Taming of the Shrew Act 4 Scene 1
- The Taming of the Shrew Act 4 Scene 2
- The Taming of the Shrew Act 4 Scene 3
- The Taming of the Shrew Act 4 Scene 4
- The Taming of the Shrew Act 4 Scene 5
- The Taming of the Shrew Act 5 Scene 1
- The Taming of the Shrew Act 5 Scene 2
Attitudes to Italy
Italy, seat of learning
A third of Shakespeare’s plays are set in Italy. The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice are set in Italian cities: Padua, Verona and Venice. In the Middle Ages cities such as Bologna and Padua drew people to their universities and Italy became an example of a progressive and civilised society - the product of an enviable classical past. Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is set in Padua, a place of learning and knowledge described by Lucentio as ‘the nursery of the arts’.
Italy was also the birthplace of the Renaissance and subsequent humanist thought, both of which were indispensable in an Elizabethan gentleman’s education. From Italian books such as Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier (translated into English in 1561) one could read of the perfect courtier - a poet, soldier and man of wit and manner - and in Machiavelli’s The Prince discover the secrets of a subtle yet ruthless politician. Petrarch’s poems, with their exploration of idealised and unrequited love, were imitated (and parodied) and the classical Roman authors including Seneca and Ovid were studied at school and university. The Senecan model of tragedy shaped the tyrant of the Elizabethan stage and stories from Ovid were well known among players and playgoers alike.
Alongside the view of Italy as the seat of learning, another attitude gradually developed, following the Reformation and during the sixteenth century. Contemporary Italy was seen as a place of political intrigue and social instability and plays set in Renaissance Italy featured a sensational combination of duplicity, violence, murder, rape and mutilation. Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus features all of these and is set in Italy’s classical past.
Many Jacobean revenge dramas and Italianate plays, including John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi and The White Devilor Ben Jonson’s Volpone, explored similar themes in plays set in contemporary Italy. The hot climate of Italy linked it to a land of strong passions, extreme emotions and illicit love. Indications of this are found in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with references to summer heat, dog days and violent family feuds that set the scene for the play.
The period of European history broadly between 1000AD-1500AD.
To do with Ancient Greek and Roman civilisation or literature.
Renaissance is literally 're-birth'. The term describes the movement, especially in the 15th and 16th centuries originating from Italy, where new areas of art, poetry, scholarship and architecture emerged.
1. A student of human affairs, or of human nature. 2. In the Renaissance a student of language, literature, and material culture of Rome, and Greece. 3. Someone who believes that it is possible to lead a good life without dependence on religious be
Italian writer and politician (1469 - 1527) who advocated methods of statecraft which were seen as so devious and cunning that his name became a by-word for craftiness and deceit.
An Italian poet of the sixteenth century, who created both a form of the sonnet and presented a courtly ideal of womanhood.
A comic, mocking or satiric imitation of a form of literature or someone's action.
Roman statesman, poet and philosopher, c. 4 B.C. - A.D. 65
43Bc- AD17. Latin poet born in Italy. His major works are Ars amatoria (Art of Love) and Metamorphoses.
A drama in which the main character falls from power, dignity and prosperity to misery, defeat and (usually) death
Term given to the movements of church reform which in the sixteenth century resulted in new Protestant churches being created as an alternative to the Roman Catholic Church.
The revenge play or revenge tragedy was a popular genre in the Elizabethan and Jacobean period which looked to the Roman poet Seneca for its origins.
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