The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0763  Wednesday, 4 April 2001

From:           Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 30 Mar 2001 11:07:49 -0800
Subject: Re: Weed Noted
Comment:        SHK 12.0745 Re: Weed Noted

The inevitable Stephanie Hughes writes:

> Whatever the external inspiration for Taming of the Shrew, I personally
> think Petruchio is a manic-depressive.

That will get big yucks from the groundlings.

> Where Kate's behavior causes most men to run away,
> he is attracted to her because he recognizes his own
> stresses in her behavior. (Both sets of behviors are
> classic MDD.)

Double your pleasure, double your fun.

> When finally she realizes that her husband suffers from
> the same problem she does, Kate gains a great sympathy
> for him and so is willing to sacrifice her ego in a matter of
> very little real importance to her just to make him happy.
> It's really a lovely play.

Lovely?  If I believed that really was the dynamic, I'd find *Shrew*
even more disturbing than I do.  I hope no woman ever makes such a
sacrifice for me.  Give me a woman who will stand up to me when I am
wrong, and will let me stand up to her when she is wrong.  This is ugly,
according to my personal politics, and very much against the text.

> There's an awful lot of madness in Shakespeare,
> and an awful lot of fear of it.

Fear of madness.  I'm slapping my knee already.

Diagnosing a disease, mental or physical, that is understood differently
now than it was in the early modern era is problematic.  Just as we
can't prove Shakespeare didn't have this in mind, it also isn't an ideal
fit, especially in light of Petruchio's explanation of his actions.   If
he did, Shakespeare could certainly have done a better job of informing
us he had this malady in mind.

Couldn't he have just created a couple of characters with outrageous
behaviors for the amusement of his audience?  Simple is better.

Mike Jensen

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