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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: August ::
The Image of Woman
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1693  Thursday, 28 August 2003

[1]     From:   Meg Powers Livingston <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Aug 2003 10:20:58 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1667 The Image of Woman

[2]     From:   Kristine Batey <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Aug 2003 10:09:09 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1674 The Image of Woman

[3]     From:   Rolland Banker <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Aug 2003 02:25:26 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1667 The Image of Woman


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Meg Powers Livingston <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Aug 2003 10:20:58 -0400
Subject: 14.1667 The Image of Woman
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1667 The Image of Woman

Thank you for that thoughtful response, Bruce.  I found it very helpful.

To add another aspect to this discussion, I recommend John Fletcher's
play _The Woman's Prize_ (subtitled _The Tamer Tam'd_) to anyone who is
interested in pursuing these issues.  The play, written c. 1611, is a
kind of sequel to _Shrew_ and shows a widowed Petruchio in the early
days of a new marriage to a young woman named Maria.  Fletcher takes as
his starting point that Kate's speech at the end of _Shrew_ was NOT
sincere (though she is not mentioned by name, the context is pretty
clear) and that she went on to make Petruchio's life hell because he was
making her life hell.  Act 1, scene 1 of _Prize_ has Petruchio's MALE
friends discussing the harshness of Petruchio's temper and how he is
likely to tyrannize his new wife into an early grave.  One of the
speakers then goes on about how he would respond in that situation if he
were a woman.  Later in the play, Maria has a speech in which she
compares her planned campaign to tame Petruchio to Kate's earlier
behavior (again, Kate is not named but the connection is clear) and
points out what she thinks Kate should have done.  Lots of very
interesting gender stuff.

The play has recently been anthologized in a couple of places, most
notably in Bevington's 2002 _Norton Anthology of English Renaissance
Drama_ and in Fischlin and Fortier's 2000 anthology _Adaptations of
Shakespeare_.

By the way, Queen Henrietta Maria in the 1630s reportedly liked to see
_Shrew_ and _Prize_ acted by the King's Men on successive nights.
According to Henry Herbert's surviving records, she preferred _Prize_.

Best,
Meg Powers Livingston

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kristine Batey <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Aug 2003 10:09:09 -0500
Subject: 14.1674 The Image of Woman
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1674 The Image of Woman

Um...yeah. Sure. "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he
loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband"--suggesting, in
the context, that the husband must be worthy of respect. I'm all for
that part.  Or did you mean the part about wives submitting to their
husbands in all things? Often in real life that course of action proves
disastrous, resulting in anything but "domestic tranquility," and the
insistence that that particular formula is a recipe for a happy home has
also been, quite properly, the object of on-stage derision. As for St.
Paul, he meant well, but even his illustrious contemporaries--St. Peter,
for one--were critical of his judgment. Paul himself never married, of
course, and anything done well looks easy from the outside.

Feminist critics--and all critical thinkers--are justly suspicious of
pat formulas that on thoughtful examination prove not to be borne out by
reality.

>R.A. Cantrell wrote:

>Shakespeare, in many instances ( Shrew, Comedy, inter alia.), dramatized
>the virtue of the formulation for domestic tranquility delineated by St.
>Paul (inter alia)  (Ephesians V, inter alia.) The utter hubris displayed
>feminists in declaring that formulation errant would be (and has been)
>the proper object of continued derision on stage.

Kristine Batey
Evanston, IL USA

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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rolland Banker <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Aug 2003 02:25:26 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1667 The Image of Woman
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1667 The Image of Woman

In reference to the mutuality of the love between Kate and Petruchio,
the line announcing this mutuality (Shrew 2.1.296) may continue a
pointed reference to "Women Pleased":

"If she and I be pleas'd," says Petruchio to the other couples, "what's
that to you?"

Again, I am paraphrasing this from "Shakespeare the Actor and the
Purposes of Playing" by Meredith Anne Skura. But this could all be in
the Arden edition for all I know, I only have Dowden.

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