Dramatic language

Direct address to the audience

Soliloquys and asides create drama by revealing more about characters and their motivations to the audience. Both are associated with truth-telling, the latter also part of any scene’s humour.
In Petruchio’s soliloquy in Act 4 Scene 1, he explains his plan to tame Katherina. This has the effect of drawing the audience closer to someone who has thus far been perplexing. They now have an insight into his actions and can appreciate the humour of his plot to ‘tame’ Katherina and ‘kill her with kindness’. 
The fact that Katherina has no such soliloquy herself could demonstrate another way in which she is ‘silenced’, denied a voice other than the ‘shrewish’ one allotted to her by every other character in the play.
Asides similarly add to an audience’s understand of character and plot. Hortensio’s asides are often comic, such as when he gradually realises that he has a rival for Bianca’s attentions in Cambio (who is also a man in disguise, as he is):
Hortensio:  Madam, ‘tis now in tune. 
Lucentio:   All but the bass. 
Hortensio:  The bass is right, ‘tis the base knave that jars.  
[Aside] How fiery and forward our pedant is. 
Now, for my life, the knave doth court my love.  
Pedascule, I’ll watch you better yet.
Act 3 Scene 1     

Embedded stage directions

In the script of The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare provides actors with many clues about how to act on the stage. Embedded stage directions were important because actors did not have their own copy of the entire play, but relied on cues marked on their individual lines and on clues from other actors. Today, embedded stage directions help students visualise the script as it is read.
In the knockabout farce of Act 4 Scene 1, Petruchio’s words give the other actors clues about what to do onstage:
  • Petruchio is demanding that his boots be taken off, presumably with his foot up waiting, and his servants are taking too long to attend to him:
Off with my boots you rogues, you villains! When? 
Act 4 Scene 1   
Petruchio has been tripped up by a servant and at ‘Take that!’ has either kicked him or hit him in return:
Out, you rogue! You pluck my foot awry.
Take that!
Act 4 Scene 1    
  • Here the servant either drops the basin of water or has it knocked from his hand by Petruchio:
Come, Kate, and wash, and welcome heartily. 
You whoreson villain! Will you let it fall? 
Act 4 Scene 1     
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