19 Jul 2009

Essays on The Taming of the Shrew

Many examples of classic literature have come under fire over the years as social mores and values have changed.  Books such as Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn have come under fire as “racist” due to their use of what is now considered politically incorrect language.  Others, such as William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew have found their way into the censorship scopes of modern feminists.  Yet when properly viewed in their original context, the classical nature of these works is easy to reveal.

Few can spin a yarn like the Bard.  Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is an unmatched tale of love and deception.  In Padua there lives the fair Bianca who is being secretly courted by three young men against her father’s wishes.  He has declared that none may court Bianca until her vicious older sister Katherine has been married.  Lucentio, a recent arrival to the city falls in love with Bianca and joins Gremio and Hortensio in disguise in an effort to get close to Bianca.

Lucentio disguises himself as Bianca’s Latin teacher in order to spend time with her.  Hortensio assumes the role of her music teacher for the same purpose.  Lucentio’s servant assumes his identity and begins talks with Binaca’s father in an effort to secure a marriage.  The whole mess is taken care of when Hortensio’s friend Petruccio arrives and declares that he will marry a rich woman, irrespective of what she looks like.  Naturally Bianca’s suitors are delighted and quickly arrange for him to meet Katherine.  She and Petruccio get into a nasty little fight and brash young Petruccio tells her that she’ll marry him whether she likes it or not.  The rest of the story details Petruccio’s fight to win over Katherine through sheer dominance.  In the end she does learn to submit to her husband’s will.

Lucentio and Bianca marry.  Eventually Hortensio marries a wealthy widow and late in the tale all are gathered around his wedding feast a contest is held to see whose wife will obey the quickest when summoned by their husband.  All are surprised when Katherine arrives immediately.

Like many of Shakespeare’s plays, The Taming of the Shrew incorporates the conflict between traditional obedience to one’s parents and one’s quest for love.  Describe how this is reflected in this play and explain how it influences the course of the play.

In the above summary, mention is made of the “contest” during the third man’s wedding celebration.  Explain why the men might be surprised at Katherine being the first to obey and why she might have had motivation to do so.

Many of Shakespeare’s play are centered on the concept of love.  Love can be a confusing topic and with Shakespeare’s habit of throwing multiple players into the arena, writing about Shakespearian plays can be very much like writing articles about soap operas.  With the plays containing culture-related references at every turn, it can be a complicated situation for students to write about.  Our professional writers can help by fulfilling the student’s academic needs.  All they need is your order.

12 Jul 2009

Essays on The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare is considered by many to be one of history’s most prolific and dynamic playwrights, having written dozens of plays ranging from dramatic tragedies (Macbeth) to whimsical romances (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).  One of his best known plays is “The Merchant of Venice.”

The Merchant of Venice, as the name implies, is set primarily in the historic city of Venice, Italy.  Dealing with a mix of romantic intrigue and political turmoil, The Merchant of Venice provides numerous avenues of essay and literary evaluation.  During the course of The Merchant of Venice, issues such as the extent of what friends will do for friends, what children will do to honor their parents, what others do to pursue love, and even what mankind in general will do to exact vengeance on those perceived to have wronged us are addressed in a series of profound, but realistic events.

Central to the story is the friendship between the main characters, Bassanio and Antonio.  Bassanio is in love with the beautiful and wealthy Portia of the city of Belmont.  Antonio, out of friendship, arranges a loan for Bassanio with a Jewish moneylender, Shylock, pledging a pound of his own flesh in forfeiture should they be unable to repay the loan, setting the stage for the events to follow.

  • William Shakespeare had a talent of hiding themes and lessons within many of his plays.  One hidden theme of “The Merchant of Venice” is the concept of wisdom and our understanding of it.  Within the prose of the play, how it guides the lives of those who have it, and how those who lack it end up paying the consequences are revealed.  Choose a character and discuss how the concept of wisdom affects the character through the course of the play.
  • Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of this play is the riddle of the boxes.  Describe the test and its consequences for those involved.  Explain how the concepts of obedience and wisdom play into this from the aspect of Portia’s obedience to her father’s wishes and from the father’s wisdom in the test itself.
  • The Merchant of Venice is often cited as the source for our concept of “a pound of flesh,” implying a claim of vengeance that is expected to come at a high price or with considerable risk to the claimant.  Explore why this is so and analyze the appropriateness of the present day implications of the expression and significance of the play.

Plays such as The Merchant of Venice hold double risk for students in their writings.  The plays not only hold hidden meanings, but were written in a vastly different society, with forgotten connotations embedded within its prose that held significance during the time of Shakespeare, but that are almost meaningless to us today.  Our writers stand ready to assist in your needs for Shakespearean play essays and literary analyses.

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