The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0625 Tuesday, 5 April 2005
Date: Sunday, 3 Apr 2005 14:37:05 -0500
Subject: Who Calls Kate Angry?
At a rehearsal of Shrew the other night, I was struck by these lines of
Katharina's in III.2.205 (Bevington's ed.):
I will be angry. What hast thou to do?
Father, be quiet. He shall stay my leisure.
She is responding to this line, which is attributed to Petruchio in all
editions I have consulted, including F1:
O Kate, content thee. Prithee, be not angry.
What struck me is that the scene would play more easily and naturally if
this line were assigned to her father Baptista rather than Petruchio. As
it stands, we must infer that Baptista tries to intervene, but that she
interrupts him before he is able to say a word. On the other hand, if
Baptista has just told her not to be angry, her shushing him seems
perfectly natural. She has already shushed Baptista once before at
II.1.35: "Talk not to me. I will sit and weep/Till I can find occasion
of revenge." It also makes better sense if she addresses her challenge
"What hast thou to do?" to Baptista, because now that Kate is married,
she is no longer subject to her father's will, but answers only to her
husband. Additionally, it is Petruchio's conceit that Kate is delighted
to be married to him, and that he is protecting her from all those who
would prevent her from going with him. He is not likely to suggest that
Kate is angry.
I realize this is a matter of interpretation, and that it is risky to
begin re-assigning lines based on one's personal interpretation of how a
scene plays, but I am somewhat emboldened by the note on the text in the
Riverside edition that states that "there is palpable confusion in
speech-prefixes" in the previous scene.
My question is this: since I don't have access to a variorum edition,
can anyone on the list tell me if any earlier editor has suggested
re-assigning this line to Baptista from Petruchio, and whether any of
you think such a change is warranted?
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