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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: November ::
Re: *Shr.* Irony
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0903.  Friday, 17
November 1995.

(1)     From:   Charles Boyle <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 Nov 1995 17:20:40 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   shrew

(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 Nov 1995 22:39:15 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0900  Re:  *Shr.* Irony

(3)     From:   David Reed <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 Nov 1995 08:41:20 -0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0900  Re:  *Shr.* Irony

(4)     From:   Lisa Broome <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 Nov 1995 13:51:51 CST6CDT
        Subj:   Taming, Griselda, and medium as message

(5)     From:   David G. Hale <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 Nov 95 15:59:18 EST
        Subj:   re: SHAKSPER: SHK 6.0900 Re: *Shr.* Irony


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:          Charles Boyle <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 Nov 1995 17:20:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        shrew

I understand the PC dance people feel they must do around the amazing
closing speech of Katherina in Taming of the Shrew. And there are some
nice steps there. But take a good look at Shakespeare and you can see
this guy had a lot of problems with women. Look at Hamlet, look at Lear,
my god, look at Macbeth and Othello. This man had an unholy terror of
being ruled by unruly women. A true Elizabethan. So I think somewhere in
his heart he was being sincere when he wrote this plea for female
surrender. But I think he also knew on the spiritual plane there is a
paradox: submission is victory. One way to play the speech is as pure
erotic submission, given on the faith and trust that it will be returned
in kind. The secret of a great production would be that it is. He is
worthy of her. They have discovered holy matrimony amidst the
squabbling, faithless couples. I agree only true love can redeem this
old world scenario but Shakespeare, ultimately, believed in love. It
would be a nice touch if the happy couple exited with her riding him
like a horse, both howling with delights to come.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 Nov 1995 22:39:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0900  Re:  *Shr.* Irony
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0900  Re:  *Shr.* Irony

Andy Grewar writes:

>Bernie Folan asks about irony in *The Shrew*.  One starting point might be the >irony of the broader situation given by the Induction, namely that the Lord >arranges for Christopher Sly to see a play in which he is shown how to "tame a >shrew".

Perhaps this brings us to another question:  is Sly tamed?  Or maybe it
brings us to a series of questions: if Sly is tamed, does the audience
see Katherine (the name she prefers) as his mirror?  Or if he is not
tamed, do we assume that Katherine is also not tamed?  Or are the two
characters contrasting?

Sly is obviously the first "shrew" in the play. And the first audiences
must have assumed that the play would be about his taming. So I assume
that there is some relationship between the two shrews.  Of course, Sly
is tamed by the Lord's giving him luxuries; and Kate is "tamed" by
Petruchio refusing her necessities -- food, sleep, sex. Do both methods
"work"?

Yours, Bill Godshalk

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Reed <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 Nov 1995 08:41:20 -0800
Subject: 6.0900  Re:  *Shr.* Irony
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0900  Re:  *Shr.* Irony


Re:Bernie Folan's question about  Katherine's final speech, Taming of
the Shrew.

My thought is that the play portrays Kate as sincere while
simultaneously coding that last speech as ironic, or just wrong.  As
some of the contributors have done, I point to the Induction (which
SEEMS to have been neglected by Shakespeare) as a starting point.

Christopher Sly is a rogue who awakes to find himself a lord.  Although
this "story" is "forgotten" by the play, both Sly and Katherine are
brought into an illusory (staged) world and forced to accept it as real;
Petruchio is as much a sorcerer of illusions and deceptions as is the
noble who manages the plot on Sly.  And like Katherine, Sly does  not
come out of that world; thus, the play's neglect of Sly parallels (and,
in a sense, thus gets picked up by) the conclusion in which Katherine
seems to show no signs of "awakening" from her new reality.  While the
Play seems to portray Petruchio (and male domination) as triumphant and
worthy of celebration, the Sly-plot (pun intended) may actually
undermine that victory in conveying how un-artistic, how very 'wrong'
(to the audiences' sensibilities) is any strategy of deception that
invovles no return to reality.

Hope this confuses things further, David Reed

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lisa Broome <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 Nov 1995 13:51:51 CST6CDT
Subject:        Taming, Griselda, and medium as message

I am working on a paper in which I describe Shakespeare's Taming of the
Shrew as mythic and Dekker's Patient Grissil as folkloric in mode. (my
sources include D.L. Miller, Bettleheim, vonFranz, and McLuhan,
Brunvand, etc.)  I claim that while both playwrights have messages about
taming, it is important to understand the mode in which the playwright
conveys that message in order to understand our own preference for
Shakespeare's Taming (its 20th c. popularity as opposed to Grissil's
lack thereof).  I would like to know if anyone has suggestions for
additional sources.  I also welcome any comments on the topic! If you
would like to reply to me rather than the list, my address is

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Thanks very much, Lisa Broome

(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David G. Hale <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 Nov 95 15:59:18 EST
Subject: SHK 6.0900 Re: *Shr.* Irony
Comment:        re: SHAKSPER: SHK 6.0900 Re: *Shr.* Irony

Several writers have recently speculated on irony in Kate's speech at
the end of "Shrew." The Rochester,
 

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