The Taming of the Shrew Art and Culture Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.
Your Honor's players, heating your amendment,
Are come to play a pleasant comedy,
For so your doctors hold it very meet,
Seeing too much sadness hath congealed your
And melancholy is the nurse of frenzy.
Therefore they thought it good you hear a play
And frame your mind to mirth and merriment,
Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life. (Induction.2.130-138)
The Messenger's announcement to Sly that a group of traveling actors will perform a play for him (doctor's orders no less) is a playful way to nudge the play-goers to remind them that they too are an audience, and that theater is good for them. (Fun fact: Puritan protesters against Elizabethan theater claimed that play-going was bad for an audience's health. They worried actors could "infect" or "contaminate" audiences with bad morals, leading them to commit illegal sexual acts, which would also lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis. Shakespeare is poking fun at the Puritans here.)
Dost thou love pictures? We will fetch thee straight
Adonis painted by a running brook, (Induction.2.49-50)
When the Second Servant offers to fetch for Sly a picture of a scene from Metamorphosis, we're invited to compare Sly's on-stage metamorphosis, from beggar to lord, to other modes of art. Shakespeare aligns his play with a classic text and links himself with the likes of literary giants such as Ovid.
TRANIO, to Lucentio
Husht, master, here's some good pastime toward; (1.1.69)
There's that word "pastime" again. Here, Kate is causing quite a "scene" and Tranio and Lucentio watch and comment on the spectacle of Kate arguing with her father and Bianca's suitors in public. The point? We are all spectators and spectacles at one point or another. Kate is literally causing a "scene" but later she and Petruchio will watch others misbehave in public. Everyday life has become a kind of theater.