This is comical as Petruchio is attracted to her vigour, and this is what people disliked about her in the beginning. One of the main themes of the play is disguise and this creates a lot of comedy in the play. In the induction scene Christopher Sly is made to believe that he is not a tinker but in fact a “mighty Lord” and that he has been mad for fifteen years. This role reversal creates an illusion and is comical for both a modern and Elizabethan audience, as we can see Sly trying to come to terms with his identity. “Am I a lord, and have I such a lady? Or di I dream?
Or have I dream’d till now. ” The colloquial language he uses reflects his low status in society makes it more humorous as the audience can see that his actions are not that of a Lord: “For God’s sake, a pot of small ale. ” The exchange of insults between Katherina and Petruchio demonstrates the sexual tension between them. This can either be seen as ridiculing her through parody, or just gentle teasing, and the way in which he describes her is humorous as he is the only one who sees her in this light, and even compares her to “dainties” an idea of cakes or delicacies.
Both audiences would find this funny as Katherina falls into Petruchio’s word traps without realising. An Elizabethan audience may not be used to this form of flirtatious fun and but would still find this coarse punning amusing. “Whose tongue? Yours if you talk of tales and so farewell What with my tongue in your tail? Nay come again, Good Kate. I am a gentleman-” The wedding scene is highly farcical as Shakespeare uses visual comedy.
Petruchio arrives for the wedding dressed ridiculously. The passage contains a lot of alliteration thus exaggerating the idea and making it more comical: “An old jerkin; an old pair of breeches” Shakespeare uses irony here as Petruchio doesn’t conform to society’s idealistic bridegroom and the method of transport he uses, his behaviour in the church and refusal to stay for the feast create a hilarious scene for both audiences.
However some people from the Elizabethan audience may not find this amusing as they may think that it is ridiculous to turn up in such clothes on a wedding day and no respected person would do that. The differences between a modern society encouraging gender equality and a male governed Elizabethan society would cause there to be some difference in reaction to the comical elements of the play. However overall both audiences would find humour throughout Petruchio’s attempts to tame Katherina and throughout the rest of the play.