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The Taming of the Shrew Theme of Education

The Taming of the Shrew is interested in the uses of education – not necessarily what can be learned inside a formal classroom, but what can be gained from real world experience. In the play, the theme is closely linked with deception and punishment. Unruly characters are often tricked so that they can be taught important social "lessons" about their proper function in society. At other times, education is literally a cover used to dupe unwitting figures that typically uphold social order. The play also points to the difference education can make in characters' lives – in many (but not all) cases, those privileged enough to have some kind of formal education seem to also have all the power.

Questions About Education

  1. How does the play make us aware of a character's level of formal education?
  2. What kinds of teaching and learning occur in the play? Does education always happen in a classroom?
  3. What is Petruchio's "taming school," exactly? Does it work?
  4. Shakespeare was often bagged on for not being educated enough. Does this influence how you read the play? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The Taming of the Shrew suggests that worldly experience is much more valuable than formal, classroom education.

In the play, learning can be a humiliating and painful experience.

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