The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2078 Tuesday, 15 October 2002
Date: Monday, 14 Oct 2002 12:28:36 -0400
Subject: 13.2073 Naught's Well
Comment: Re: SHK 13.2073 Naught's Well
>"That he fails to do so [escape the forced marriage], and that we are
>meant to celebrate the failure, makes All's Well as repugnant to men as
>Shrew is to women."
Yes, and yet no. There are several significant difference, at least for
a modern audience. Helena is presented as the sum of all virtues,
beautiful, wise, modest (mostly) and very much in love with Betrand.
Petruccio is presented as an oafish bore who is mainly interested in the
money he can gain by marrying Katherine.
Further, Helena wins over her reluctant husband by fulfilling his
impossible demands and by appearing to die (which always makes the heart
grow fonder). Katherine is "won" by sleep deprivation, starvation and
And yet, despite that, I would have to say that productions of Shrew
always seem to end with a lighthearted, upbeat feeling of romance, while
All's Well tends towards darker productions that highlight the lack of
union and the irony of the title.
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