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Home :: Archive :: 1991 :: April ::
Pedagogy: Sexism & *TS*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 106. Thursday, 18 Apr 1991.
 
Date: 		Tue, 16 Apr 1991 17:43:12 -0400
From: 		Roy Flannagan FLANNAGA@OUACCVMB.BITNET
Subject: 	More on *The Taming of the Shrew*
 
	[I have cobbled this note together, with Roy Flannagan's
	permission, from a number of separate private notes, for
	posting on SHAKSPER.  KS]
 
My class saw the John Cleese *Shrew* on Thursday night, enjoyed it, and
did they argue over sexual roles the next day in class!  Probably the
most exhausting moderating hour I have spent in some time, but
exhilarating at the same time. [. . .]
 
Considering that the class is close to 50 people, that was an overwhelming
debate.  When one student said he thought the play was mediocre because it
was limited in perspective and showed the young Shakespeare to be a sexist,
I entered the discussion on the side of the young (and old) Shakespeare,
bringing in Miranda (not exactly a tower of strength) and Desdemona, who
may be one ideal woman, but a sacrificial lamb.  One woman in class said
what about Rosaline and I added Portia, but I said both were completely
willing, with marriage, to put their entire estates in the hands of their
husbands.  A bright and very funny woman student (the week before,
defending Bottom, she said "We all have a piece of ass in us"), who
happens to be the only black in the class,  said that in her more
traditional, Bible-fearing family, women did more or less as Katherina
did, put their husbands on a pedestal and gave them constant support.
Her opinion was respected, incidentally, in the sense that no one said
"Yes, but."  If I judge rightly, no one side won the debate, but
Shakespeare is not yet off the hook as a sexist, no matter what his age
might have gotten from the Bible.
							Roy
 

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