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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: November ::
Re: Shrews Behaving Badly
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1080  Tuesday, 3 November 1998.

[1]     From:   Peter Hyland <
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        Date:   Monday, 2 Nov 1998 11:26:02 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1077  Re: Shrews Behaving Badly

[2]     From:   John Perry <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 03 Nov 1998 02:03:52 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1068  Re: Shrews Behaving Badly


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Hyland <
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Date:           Monday, 2 Nov 1998 11:26:02 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.1077  Re: Shrews Behaving Badly
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1077  Re: Shrews Behaving Badly

Some years ago the Stratford, Ontario Festival presented an updated
version of SHREW that modified the Induction to have the drunken Sly
fall asleep before the start of the play-within; at the end Sly was
rudely aroused and ejected from the tavern. Since the actor playing Sly
(Colm Feore) also played Petruchio, the impression was given that the
whole play had been his drunken dream. This neatly explained Kate's
final speech, which could be seen as the wish-fulfillment of a pathetic
man rather than a 'real' capitulation to patriarchal desire.

Peter Hyland

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Perry <
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Date:           Tuesday, 03 Nov 1998 02:03:52 -0500
Subject: 9.1068  Re: Shrews Behaving Badly
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1068  Re: Shrews Behaving Badly

It's really pleasant to see some genuine discussion of  this play.
I've bitten my tongue (figuratively, of course) until now because I'm
learning a lot, which is why I subscribed to the list.  I especially
appreciate the comments of Carol Barton about possible relationships to
other plays, of Abigail Quart concerning puns, of Jerry Adair and
another (whose name I can't remember-forgive me) concerning the infamous
final scene which gave even me considerable heartburn (some may remember
me as the nutcase who thinks Petruccio is an eccentric gentleman who
saves a violently twisted monster Kate from her family and herself by
loving her, rather than mindlessly indulging her).  I didn't realize
there were also textual reasons to believe Kate and Petruccio were
cooperating at the end.

I love eavesdropping on scholars!

Another whose message I deleted after reading asked for ideas about
portraying Petruccio honestly.  Please let me be the audacious layman
and suggest that he read the scene that introduces Petruccio and
Grumio.  Note that there is not the least textual support for violence
actually occurring here; in fact, consider carefully the wisecracking
attitude of Grumio.  I know nobody who has ever endured military service
can accept the relationship between Grumio  and Petruccio as anything
but that of an indulgent master and his dedicated, trusting servant.  A
Grumio like this and the tyrannical monster that Frances Barasch wants
us to see cannot coexist: the servant must be either a cowed sulker or a
devious manipulator.  I have a hard time believing anyone can see any
other alternative.

Read this opening scene honestly, and the rest of the play cannot
possibly have either the vile despot of Ms. Barasch or the drunken fool
of Zeffirelli.

Likewise, read honestly the scene that introduces Kate, and the rest of
the play cannot possibly have either the mistreated heroine of Ms.
Barasch, or the mischievous tomboy of Zeffirelli.

As I've said before, I can see no possibility of anything in this play
but either a hilarious, quirky love story, or a stupid farce.

John Perry

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