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As a modern audience we must be conscious of the society in which Shakespeare wrote The Taming of the Shrew The main part is set in Padua a city in northern Italy In the eyes of Elizabethan England Italy was a desirable country of beautiful materialistic nature and living Thus it became a popular setting for Shakespeare and his contemporaries for plays involving deceit money beautiful women or anything involving such shallow pleasures but noticeably always at a distance from England itself The play employs a similar literary technique that Shakespeare applied to many of his plays that is to either separate the audience from the setting to such an extent that the occurrences within the play can be utterly exentuated whilst at the same time genuinely believed Take Twelfth Night for instance the action takes place in Illyria an invented country supposedly on the Adriatic coast Though Illyria looks a lot like Elizabethan England the pretence issued with invention allows for the ridiculous The same applies with A Midsummer Nights Dream set mostly in forests behind Athens where the main characters are tricked and put under spells by fairies The idea of the audience enjoying the contents whilst only having their wildest imaginations as to the settings is reinforced within The Taming of the Shrew it having an inner and outer play The former set in the English countryside and consists of the first two scenes called the Induction There a group of English actors prepare to present the latter inner play - which is the story of the events in Italy The theme of plays amongst plays cross-dressing characters and such like not only a method of engaging the reader but also reminiscent of both plays mentioned above Though even providing literary reason the quite unexpected speech that Katherina delivers at the end of the play does encourage one to ask the question as to whether it is ultimately out-of-cha racter and thus
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