William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew

William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew

William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew

William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew

Synopsis

A collection of eight critical essays on the Shakespeare comedy, arranged in chronological order of their original publication.

Excerpt

The Taming of the Shrew, when acted, seems almost the simplest of performance pieces, a fine farce in an immemorial tradition of male supremacy. Well before the advent of feminist criticism of Shakespeare, Harold Goddard declined to accept such an interpretation:

Richard III proves that double-entendre was a passion of the youthful
Shakespeare, and both The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Love’s
Labor’s Lost
illustrate the fact that he was fond of under- and over
meanings he could not have expected his audience as a whole to
get. But it is The Taming of the Shrew that is possibly the most
striking example among his early works of his love of so contriv
ing a play that it should mean, to those who might choose to
take it so, the precise opposite of what he knew it would mean
to the multitude. For surely the most psychologically sound as
well as the most delightful way of taking The Taming of the
Shrew
is the topsy-turvy one. Kate, in that case, is no shrew at all
except in the most superficial sense. Bianca, on the other hand, is
just what her sister is supposed to be. And the play ends with
the prospect that Kate is going to be more nearly the tamer than
the tamed, Petruchio more nearly the tamed than the tamer, though
his wife naturally will keep the true situation under cover. So
taken, the play is an early version of What Every Woman Knows
what every woman knows being, of course, that the woman can
lord it over the man so long as she allows him to think he is lording
it over her. This interpretation has the advantage of bringing the
play into line with all the other Comedies in which Shakespeare
gives a distinct edge to his heroine. Otherwise it is an unaccount
able exception and regresses to the wholly un-Shakespearean doc
trine of male superiority, a view which there is not the slightest
evidence elsewhere Shakespeare ever held.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.