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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: November ::
Re: Shrews Behaving Badly
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1077  Monday, 2 November 1998.

[1]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Saturday, 31 Oct 1998 15:59:05 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1068 Re: Shrews Behaving Badly

[2]     From:   Frances K. Barasch <
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        Date:   Saturday, 31 Oct 1998 19:17:08 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1068 Re: Shrews Behaving Badly

[3]     From:   Carol Barton <
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        Date:   Sunday, 1 Nov 1998 00:19:54 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1068 Re: Shrews Behaving Badly

[4]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Sunday, 01 Nov 1998 01:28:44 -0600
        Subj:   shrews behaving badly


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Saturday, 31 Oct 1998 15:59:05 -0500
Subject: 9.1068 Re: Shrews Behaving Badly
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1068 Re: Shrews Behaving Badly

Frances K. Barasch wrote:

> If you keep some part of the Induction, especially the segment in which
> Sly tries to get the boy-wife to bed, and then end the play with
> dumb-show (not exactly like A Shrew, but in that spirit) in which Sly,
> having seen the shrew tamed, tries to force the boy-wife to bed; the boy
> might then lift his skirt, show his hose/trousers, astonish Sly, and run
> off, suggesting wives cannot be tamed in "reality."   By using the Sly
> framework, the audience will be reminded that Shrew IS  a
> play-within-a-play  (all of it) and in that sense, not to taken as a
> possible representation of "reality,"  but (perhaps) as Sly's impossible
> dream.

This idea is identical in effect and purpose as the actual epilogue in
"A Shrew."  See my prior post on the subject.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frances K. Barasch <
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Date:           Saturday, 31 Oct 1998 19:17:08 EST
Subject: 9.1068 Re: Shrews Behaving Badly
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1068 Re: Shrews Behaving Badly

To Jerry Adair: I can just see Kate, with love in her eyes, watch
Petrucchio tear apart her tailor-made dress and believe in the true love
you wrote Shakespeare "really" meant.  Your message was long and life is
short; I hope I did not misunderstand.  Frances K. Barasch

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol Barton <
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Date:           Sunday, 1 Nov 1998 00:19:54 EST
Subject: 9.1068 Re: Shrews Behaving Badly
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1068 Re: Shrews Behaving Badly

> Regarding the issue of interpretation (modern or otherwise), what hasn't
>  been brought forth in the replies thus far is what I believe is at the
>  heart of the play: the key ingredient of passionate love that can exist
>  between two strong human beings.  A love that, when everything is on the
>  line, doesn't even *think* about issues of sex WRT who's superior or
>  whatever else you can manufacture.  The other person and the
>  relationship is what is by far more important.  In other words, a kind
>  of unselfish love.  This is what I brought to my performance and judging
>  from the comments afterwards, is what separated me from most Petruchios,
>  be that good, bad or indifferent.

Jerry, I think we're saying the same thing from different perspectives:
indeed, it is a love with as much fire and passion as exists in its two
contributors that forges the union between Petruchio and Kate, and it is
Kate's (serious) respect for her husband and her honest desire to
promote his best interests that underlie her final speech.  I see her as
too strong and independent to ever subscribe wholeheartedly to much of
what she says about women being weaker and in need of a man's protection
("Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow . . ." and "I am ashamed
the women are so simple . .  ."), passages which I think lay it on
really thick for the (stage) audience's benefit, and are meant to be
read in a covertly theatrical tone.  On the other hand,  I think the
passage "thy husband is thy lord, thy life . . . and craves no other
tribute at thy hands / But love, fair looks and true obedience / Too
little payment for so great a debt" is so sincere as to be almost Kate
drifting off into reverie and thinking aloud, and I for one would play
it that way.  She comes back to "reality" and to the staged part of her
demonstration at "and when she is frownish," and the rest of the speech
continues the scolding.  When Petruchio tells Lucentio "'twas I won the
wager,  though you hit the white," he is making the same point I did in
my last post: Lucentio has "hit the white," the center of the dartboard,
in marrying The White (Bianca), whom everyone has heretofore considered
to be by far the better catch of the two sisters (and not in need of
taming); but it is Petruchio who is the ultimate winner, because he has
the real prize: a wife who is what her younger sibling only pretended to
be, and who will be loyal and devoted to him in ways Bianca couldn't
even begin to dream of.

"'Tis a wonder, by your leave, she will be tamed so" indeed! -- except
to Petruchio, who knows the power of "peace . . . and love and quiet
life," though he asserts "awful rule and right supremacy" when the boys'
club is in session.

Best,
Carol Barton
Department of English
Averett College

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Sunday, 01 Nov 1998 01:28:44 -0600
Subject:        shrews behaving badly

First off, for Tom Berger, George T.[ed] Wright will do as much good as
Stephen Booth it may be.  It is the standard book on Shakespeare's
prosody.

For Ms Barton:  I mentored six fifth grade girls  last Thursday in their
assigned project of doing 2.1 of *Shrew* in a production of their own
designing setting it in some time other than Shakespeare's.  I mentioned
*Much Ado* along the way and one redhead had her hand up immediately.
"OOOH I saw that one!  Bettrus was Kate, wasn't she?".  I was
flabbergasted, but carried on bravely. . . .  Was so impressed by their
plan to put the scene into the Revolutionary War period that surely I
will go see this piece when they perform it first time in early Feb.
This parag. is a propos the subject of discussion some months ago on how
young children can get interested in Shakespeare. . .

For Tom Berger and others who have wondered about what to do with the
speech on wifely obedience, do note that it is prefigured by speeches of
Adriana and esp. the Abbess in *Errors*, in all three cases drawing on
Paul's Letter to the Ephesians-Ephesus being the setting of *Errors*.
The connection between *Shrew* and *Errors* has been somewhat neglected
(for example by Wolfgang Riehle in his recent book on Plautus and Shak.
in *Errors.*) Both plays borrow a scene from Plautus's *Amphitruo* in
which a man is barred from an inn (his house) by someone who claims to
be he.  The obedience urged on us by Paul is not confined to women.  He
makes a foundation for a social order out of the virtue of obedience and
the corresponding virtue ofbenevolence in those in power.  How much of
this Sh. means to imply in the last scene of *Shr.* is doubtful.  The
links between *Shrew* and *Err*. are cause, I think, to regard them as
companion plays in the manner of *MND* and *Romeo and Juliet*.
 

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