By comparing seven passages which are similar in both plays, he concluded "the original conception is invariably to be found" in The Shrew. He reached this conclusion primarily because A Shrew features numerous lines almost identical to lines in Marlowe's Tamburlaine and Dr. In , building on Hickson's research, Peter Alexander first suggested the bad quarto theory. Instead he labelled A Shrew a bad quarto. His main argument was that, primarily in the subplot of A Shrew , characters act without motivation, whereas such motivation is present in The Shrew.
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Alexander believed this represents an example of a "reporter" forgetting details and becoming confused, which also explains why lines from other plays are used from time to time; to cover gaps which the reporter knows have been left. An early scholar to find fault with Alexander's reasoning was E.
Chambers , who reasserted the source theory. Its textual relation to The Shrew does not bear any analogy to that of other 'bad Quartos' to the legitimate texts from which they were memorised. The nomenclature , which at least a memoriser can recall, is entirely different. The verbal parallels are limited to stray phrases, most frequent in the main plot, for which I believe Shakespeare picked them up from A Shrew.
In , Leo Kirschbaum made a similar argument. In an article listing over twenty examples of bad quartos, Kirschbaum did not include A Shrew , which he felt was too different from The Shrew to come under the bad quarto banner; "despite protestations to the contrary, The Taming of a Shrew does not stand in relation to The Shrew as The True Tragedie , for example, stands in relation to 3 Henry VI.
Alexander's theory continued to be challenged as the years went on. In , R. Houk developed what came to be dubbed the Ur-Shrew theory; both A Shrew and The Shrew were based upon a third play, now lost.
Duthie refined Houk's suggestion by arguing A Shrew was a memorial reconstruction of Ur-Shrew , a now lost early draft of The Shrew ; " A Shrew is substantially a memorially constructed text and is dependent upon an early Shrew play, now lost. The Shrew is a reworking of this lost play. Duthie argues this other version was a Shakespearean early draft of The Shrew ; A Shrew constitutes a reported text of a now lost early draft. Alexander returned to the debate in , re-presenting his bad quarto theory.
In particular, he concentrated on the various complications and inconsistencies in the subplot of A Shrew , which had been used by Houk and Duthie as evidence for an Ur-Shrew , to argue that the reporter of A Shrew attempted to recreate the complex subplot from The Shrew but got confused; "the compiler of A Shrew while trying to follow the subplot of The Shrew gave it up as too complicated to reproduce, and fell back on love scenes in which he substituted for the maneuvers of the disguised Lucentio and Hortensio extracts from Tamburlaine and Faustus , with which the lovers woo their ladies.
After little further discussion of the issue in the s, the s saw the publication of three scholarly editions of The Shrew , all of which re-addressed the question of the relationship between the two plays; Brian Morris ' edition for the second series of the Arden Shakespeare , H. Morris summarised the scholarly position in as one in which no clear-cut answers could be found; "unless new, external evidence comes to light, the relationship between The Shrew and A Shrew can never be decided beyond a peradventure.
It will always be a balance of probabilities, shifting as new arguments and opinions are added to the scales. Nevertheless, in the present century, the movement has unquestionably been towards an acceptance of the Bad Quarto theory, and this can now be accepted as at least the current orthodoxy. Miller agrees with most modern scholars that A Shrew is derived from The Shrew , but he does not believe it to be a bad quarto. Instead, he argues it is an adaptation by someone other than Shakespeare.
In The Shrew , after the wedding, Gremio expresses doubts as to whether or not Petruchio will be able to tame Katherina. As Gremio does have a counterpart in I Suppositi , Miller concludes that "to argue the priority of A Shrew in this case would mean arguing that Shakespeare took the negative hints from the speeches of Polidor and Phylema and gave them to a character he resurrected from Supposes.
This is a less economical argument than to suggest that the compiler of A Shrew , dismissing Gremio, simply shared his doubts among the characters available. For him, adaptation includes exact quotation, imitation and incorporation of his own additions. This seems to define his personal style, and his aim seems to be to produce his own version, presumably intended that it should be tuned more towards the popular era than The Shrew.
As had Alexander, Houk and Duthie, Miller believes the key to the debate is to be found in the subplot, as it is here where the two plays differ most. He points out that the subplot in The Shrew is based on "the classical style of Latin comedy with an intricate plot involving deception, often kept in motion by a comic servant.
He points to the fact that in The Shrew , there is only eleven lines of romance between Lucentio and Bianca, but in A Shrew , there is an entire scene between Kate's two sisters and their lovers. This, he argues, is evidence of an adaptation rather than a faulty report;. The Shrew is long and complicated. It has three plots, the subplots being in the swift Latin or Italianate style with several disguises. Its language is at first stuffed with difficult Italian quotations, but its dialogue must often sound plain when compared to Marlowe's thunder or Greene's romance, the mouth-filling lines and images that on other afternoons were drawing crowds.
An adapter might well have seen his role as that of a 'play doctor' improving The Shrew — while cutting it — by stuffing it with the sort of material currently in demand in popular romantic comedies. Miller believes the compiler "appears to have wished to make the play shorter, more of a romantic comedy full of wooing and glamorous rhetoric , and to add more obvious, broad comedy. Oliver argues the version of the play in the First Folio was likely copied not from a prompt book or transcript, but from the author's own foul papers , which he believes showed signs of revision by Shakespeare.
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When Shakespeare rewrote the play so that Hortensio became a suitor in disguise Litio , many of his lines were either omitted or given to Tranio disguised as Lucentio. Oliver cites several scenes in the play where Hortensio or his absence causes problems. For example, in Act 2, Scene 1, Tranio as Lucentio and Gremio bid for Bianca, but Hortensio, who everyone is aware is also a suitor, is never mentioned. In Act 3, Scene 2, Tranio suddenly becomes an old friend of Petruchio, knowing his mannerisms and explaining his tardiness prior to the wedding. However, up to this point, Petruchio's only acquaintance in Padua has been Hortensio.
However, as far as Hortensio should be concerned, Lucentio has denounced Bianca, because in Act 4, Scene 2, Tranio disguised as Lucentio agreed with Hortensio that neither of them would pursue Bianca, and as such, his knowledge of the marriage of who he supposes to be Lucentio and Bianca makes no sense.
From this, Oliver concludes that an original version of the play existed in which Hortensio was simply a friend of Petruchio's, and had no involvement in the Bianca subplot, but wishing to complicate things, Shakespeare rewrote the play, introducing the Litio disguise, and giving some of Hortensio's discarded lines to Tranio, but not fully correcting everything to fit the presence of a new suitor. This is important in Duthie's theory of an Ur-Shrew insofar as he argues it is the original version of The Shrew upon which A Shrew is based, not the version which appears in the First Folio.
Upon returning to London, they published A Shrew in , some time after which Shakespeare rewrote his original play into the form seen in the First Folio. Duthie's arguments were never fully accepted at the time, as critics tended to look on the relationship between the two plays as an either-or situation; A Shrew is either a reported text or an early draft.
Performing the Defiant Female Voice
The Taming of the Shrew has been the subject of critical controversy. Dana Aspinall writes "Since its first appearance, some time between and , Shrew has elicited a panoply of heartily supportive, ethically uneasy, or altogether disgusted responses to its rough-and-tumble treatment of the 'taming' of the 'curst shrew' Katherina, and obviously, of all potentially unruly wives.
Do we simply add our voices to those of critical disapproval, seeing Shrew as at best an 'early Shakespeare', the socially provocative effort of a dramatist who was learning to flex his muscles? Or as an item of social archaeology that we have long ago abandoned? Or do we 'rescue' it from offensive male smugness?
Or make an appeal to the slippery category of ' irony '? Some scholars argue that even in Shakespeare's day the play must have been controversial, due to the changing nature of gender politics. Hibbard argues that during the period in which the play was written, arranged marriages were beginning to give way to newer, more romantically informed unions, and thus people's views on women's position in society, and their relationships with men, were in a state of flux. As such, audiences may not have been as predisposed to tolerate the harsh treatment of Katherina as is often thought.
Evidence of at least some initial societal discomfort with The Shrew is, perhaps, to be found in the fact that John Fletcher , Shakespeare's successor as house playwright for the King's Men , wrote The Woman's Prize , or The Tamer Tamed as a sequel to Shakespeare's play. Written c. In a mirror of the original, his new wife attempts successfully to tame him — thus the tamer becomes the tamed. Although Fletcher's sequel is often downplayed as merely a farce, some critics acknowledge the more serious implications of such a reaction.
Lynda Boose, for example, writes, "Fletcher's response may in itself reflect the kind of discomfort that Shrew has characteristically provoked in men and why its many revisions since have repeatedly contrived ways of softening the edges. With the rise of the feminist movement in the twentieth century, reactions to the play have tended to become more divergent. For some critics, "Kate's taming was no longer as funny as it had been [ Marcus very much believes the play to be what it seems.
She argues A Shrew is an earlier version of The Shrew , but acknowledges that most scholars reject the idea that A Shrew was written by Shakespeare. She believes one of the reasons for this is because A Shrew "hedges the play's patriarchal message with numerous qualifiers that do not exist in" The Shrew. However, others see the play as an example of a pre- feminist condemnation of patriarchal domination and an argument for modern-day "women's lib". For example, Conall Morrison , director of the RSC 's "relentlessly unpleasant" production, wrote:. I find it gobsmacking that some people see the play as misogynistic.
I believe that it is a moral tale. I believe that it is saying — "do not be like this" and "do not do this. It's amazing how you lobotomised her. And they're betting on the women as though they are dogs in a race or horses. It's reduced to that. And it's all about money and the level of power. Have you managed to crush Katharina or for Hortensio and Lucentio, will you be able to control Bianca and the widow? Will you similarly be able to control your proto-shrews?
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It is so self-evidently repellent that I don't believe for a second that Shakespeare is espousing this. And I don't believe for a second that the man who would be interested in Benedict and Cleopatra and Romeo and Juliet and all these strong lovers would have some misogynist aberration. It's very obviously a satire on this male behaviour and a cautionary tale [ This is him investigating misogyny, exploring it and animating it and obviously damning it because none of the men come out smelling of roses.
When the chips are down they all default to power positions and self-protection and status and the one woman who was a challenge to them, with all with her wit and intellect, they are all gleeful and relieved to see crushed. Petruchio's 'taming' of Kate, harsh though it may be, is a far cry from the fiercely repressive measures going on outside the theatre, and presumably endorsed by much of its audience. Some critics argue that in mitigating the violence both of folktales and of actual practices, Shakespeare sets up Petruchio as a ruffian and a bully, but only as a disguise — and a disguise that implicitly criticises the brutal arrogance of conventional male attitudes.
Whatever the " gender studies " folks may think, Shakespeare isn't trying to "domesticate women"; he's not making any kind of case for how they ought to be treated or what sort of rights they ought to have. He's just noticing what men and women are really like, and creating fascinating and delightful drama out of it.
Shakespeare's celebration of the limits that define us — of our natures as men and women — upsets only those folks who find human nature itself upsetting. Jonathan Miller , director of the BBC Television Shakespeare adaptation, and several theatrical productions, argues that although the play is not misogynistic, neither is it a feminist treatise:. I think it's an irresponsible and silly thing to make that play into a feminist tract: to use it as a way of proving that women have been dishonoured and hammered flat by male chauvinism.
There's another, more complex way of reading it than that: which sees it as being their particular view of how society ought to be organised in order to restore order in a fallen world. Now, we don't happen to think that we are inheritors of the sin of Adam and that orderliness can only be preserved by deputing power to magistrates and sovereigns, fathers and husbands. But the fact that they did think like that is absolutely undeniable, so productions which really do try to deny that, and try to hijack the work to make it address current problems about women's place in society, become boring, thin and tractarian.
According to H. Oliver, "it has become orthodoxy to claim to find in the Induction the same 'theme' as is to be found in both the Bianca and the Katherine-Petruchio plots of the main play, and to take it for granted that identity of theme is a merit and 'justifies' the introduction of Sly. This is important in terms of determining the seriousness of Katherina's final speech.
Marjorie Garber writes of the Induction, "the frame performs the important task of distancing the later action, and of insuring a lightness of tone — significant in light of the real abuse to which Kate is subjected by Petruchio. Are we to let that play preach morality to us or look in it for social or intellectual substance? The drunken tinker may be believed in as one believes in any realistically presented character; but we cannot 'believe' in something that is not even mildly interesting to him.
The play within the play has been presented only after all the preliminaries have encouraged us to take it as a farce. Oliver argues that "the main purpose of the Induction was to set the tone for the play within the play — in particular, to present the story of Kate and her sister as none-too-serious comedy put on to divert a drunken tinker". Regarding the importance of the Induction, Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen argue "the Sly framework establishes a self-referential theatricality in which the status of the shrew-play as a play is enforced.
The means by which this self-interrogation is accomplished is that complex theatrical device of the Sly-framework [ As such, questions of the seriousness of what happens within it are rendered irrelevant. Language itself is a major theme in the play, especially in the taming process, where mastery of language becomes paramount.
Katherina is initially described as a shrew because of her harsh language to those around her. Karen Newman points out, "from the outset of the play, Katherine's threat to male authority is posed through language: it is perceived by others as such and is linked to a claim larger than shrewishness — witchcraft — through the constant allusions to Katherine's kinship with the devil. Even Katherina's own father refers to her as "thou hilding of a devilish spirit" 2. Petruchio, however, attempts to tame her — and thus her language — with rhetoric that specifically undermines her tempestuous nature;.
Say that she rail, why then I'll tell her plain She sings as sweetly as a nightingale. Say that she frown, I'll say that she looks as clear As morning roses newly washed with dew. Say she be mute and will not speak a word, Then I'll commend her volubility And say she uttereth piercing eloquence.
If she do bid me pack, I'll give her thanks, As though she bid me stay by her a week.
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Here Petruchio is specifically attacking the very function of Katherina's language, vowing that no matter what she says, he will purposely misinterpret it, thus undermining the basis of the linguistic sign , and disrupting the relationship between signifier and signified. In this sense, Margaret Jane Kidnie argues this scene demonstrates the "slipperiness of language. Apart from undermining her language, Petruchio also uses language to objectify her. For example, in Act 3, Scene 2, Petruchio explains to all present that Katherina is now literally his property:.
She is my goods, my chattels , she is my house, My household stuff, my field, my barn, My horse, my ox, my ass, my any thing. In discussing Petruchio's objectification of Katherina, Tita French Baumlin focuses on his puns on her name.
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By referring to her as a "cake" and a "cat" 2. In particular, he is prone to comparing her to a hawk 2. Katherina, however, appropriates this method herself, leading to a trading of insults rife with animal imagery in Act 2, Scene 1 ll. Language itself has thus become a battleground. However, it is Petruchio who seemingly emerges as the victor. In his house, after Petruchio has dismissed the haberdasher, Katherina exclaims. Why sir, I trust I may have leave to speak, And speak I will. I am no child, no babe; Your betters have endured me say my mind, And if you cannot, best you stop your ears.
My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, Or else my heart concealing it will break, And rather than it shall, I will be free Even to the uttermost, as I please, in words. Katherina is here declaring her independence of language; no matter what Petruchio may do, she will always be free to speak her mind. However, only one-hundred lines later, the following exchange occurs;.
And well we may come there by dinner-time. Look what I speak, or do, or think to do, You are still crossing it. Sirs, let't alone, I will not go today; and ere I do, It shall be what o'clock I say it is. Kidnie says of this scene, "the language game has suddenly changed and the stakes have been raised.
Whereas before he seemed to mishear or misunderstand her words, Petruchio now overtly tests his wife's subjection by demanding that she concede to his views even when they are demonstrably unreasonable. The lesson is that Petruchio has the absolute authority to rename their world. His apparent victory in the 'language game' is seen in Act 4, Scene 5, when Katherina is made to switch the words "moon" and "sun", and she concedes that she will agree with whatever Petruchio says, no matter how absurd:.
And be it the moon, or sun, or what you please; And if you please to call it a rush-candle , Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me But sun it is not, when you say it is not, And the moon changes even as your mind: What you will have it named, even that it is, And so it shall be so for Katherine.
Of this scene, Kidnie argues "what he 'says' must take priority over what Katherina 'knows'. The important role of language, however, is not confined to the taming plot. For example, in a psychoanalytic reading of the play, Joel Fineman suggests there is a distinction made between male and female language, further subcategorising the latter into good and bad, epitomised by Bianca and Katherina respectively. Here, Sly speaks in prose until he begins to accept his new role as lord, at which point he switches to blank verse and adopts the royal we.
In productions of the play, it is often the interpretation of Katherina's final speech the longest speech in the play that defines the tone of the entire production, such is the importance of this speech and what it says, or seems to say, about female submission:. Fie, fie! It blots thy beauty, as frosts do bite the meads, Confounds thy fame, as whirlwinds shake fair buds, And in no sense is meet or amiable. A woman moved is like a fountain troubled, Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty, And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it. Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, Thy head, thy sovereign: one that cares for thee, And for thy maintenance; commits his body To painful labour both by sea and land, To watch the night in storms, the day in cold, Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe, And craves no other tribute at thy hands But love, fair looks, and true obedience — Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince, Even such a woman oweth to her husband; And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour, And not obedient to his honest will, What is she but a foul contending rebel And graceless traitor to her loving lord? I am ashamed that women are so simple To offer war where they should kneel for peace; Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway, When they are bound to serve, love, and obey. Why are our bodies soft, and weak, and smooth, Unapt to toil and trouble in the world, But that our soft conditions, and our hearts, Should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come, you froward and unable worms! My mind hath been as big as one of yours, My heart as great, my reason haply more, To bandy word for word and frown for frown; But now I see our lances are but straws, Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare, That seeming to be most which we indeed least are. Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot, And place your hands below your husband's foot; In token of which duty, if he please, My hand is ready, may it do him ease. Traditionally, many critics have taken the speech literally.
Writing in , for example, G. Duthie argued "what Shakespeare emphasises here is the foolishness of trying to destroy order. George Bernard Shaw wrote in that "no man with any decency of feeling can sit it out in the company of a woman without being extremely ashamed of the lord-of-creation moral implied in the wager and the speech put into the woman's own mouth.
Actress Meryl Streep , who played Katherina in at the Shakespeare in the Park festival , says of the play, "really what matters is that they have an incredible passion and love; it's not something that Katherina admits to right away, but it does provide the source of her change. Bean sees the speech as the final stage in the process of Katherina's change of heart towards Petruchio; "if we can appreciate the liberal element in Kate's last speech — the speech that strikes modern sensibilities as advocating male tyranny — we can perhaps see that Kate is tamed not in the automatic manner of behavioural psychology but in the spontaneous manner of the later romantic comedies where characters lose themselves and emerge, as if from a dream, liberated into the bonds of love.
Perhaps the most common interpretation in the modern era is that the speech is ironic; Katherina has not been tamed at all, she has merely duped Petruchio into thinking she has. Two especially well known examples of this interpretation are seen in the two major feature film adaptations of the play; Sam Taylor 's version and Franco Zeffirelli 's version. In Taylor's film, Katherina, played by Mary Pickford , winks at Bianca during the speech, indicating she does not mean a word of what she is saying.
She points out that several lines in the speech focus on the woman's body, but in the Elizabethan theatre , the role would have been played by a young boy, thus rendering any evocation of the female form as ironic. Reading the play as a satire of gender roles, she sees the speech as the culmination of this process. And in declaring women's passivity so extensively and performing it centre-stage, Kate might be seen to take on a kind of agency that rebukes the feminine codes of silence and obedience which she so expressly advocates. He has gained her outward compliance in the form of a public display, while her spirit remains mischievously free.
In relation to this interpretation, William Empson suggests that Katherina was originally performed by an adult male actor rather than a young boy. He argues that the play indicates on several occasions that Katherina is physically strong, and even capable of over-powering Petruchio. For example, this is demonstrated off-stage when the horse falls on her as she is riding to Petruchio's home, and she is able to lift it off herself, and later when she throws Petruchio off a servant he is beating. Empson argues that the point is not that Katherina is, as a woman, weak, but that she is not well cast in the role in life which she finds herself having to play.
The end of the play then offers blatant irony when a strong male actor, dressed as a woman, lectures women on how to play their parts. The fourth school of thought is that the play is a farce, and hence the speech should not be read seriously or ironically. For example, Robert B. Heilman argues that "the whole wager scene falls essentially within the realm of farce: the responses are largely mechanical, as is their symmetry. Kate's final long speech on the obligations and fitting style of wives we can think of as a more or less automatic statement — that is, the kind appropriate to farce — of a generally held doctrine.
One is that a careful reading of the lines will show that most of them have to be taken literally; only the last seven or eight lines can be read with ironic overtones [ Another way in which to read the speech and the play as farcical is to focus on the Induction. Oliver, for example, emphasising the importance of the Induction, writes "the play within the play has been presented only after all the preliminaries have encouraged us to take it as a farce.
We have been warned. It does not, cannot, work. The play has changed key: it has modulated back from something like realistic social comedy to the other, 'broader' kind of entertainment that was foretold by the Induction. Emma Smith suggests a possible fifth interpretation: Petruchio and Kate have colluded together to plot this set-piece speech, "a speech learned off pat", to demonstrate that Kate is the most obedient of the three wives and so allow Petruchio to win the wager. A Billionaire's Roar. Vella Day. Bearly Fated Mates. Blood and Moonlight.
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