I recently went to see a wonderful production of The Taming of the Shrew — western style — through Shakespeare Dallas, which really helped jump start my personal goal of finding more of an appreciate for the Bard’s works. I have my favorites as I’m sure all of us do, but outside of the ones I’ve seen performed or been forced given the opportunity to read in school, I rarely pick up Shakespeare’s works on my own. Even though I recently saw it performed, I thought I begin with an old favorite of mine: The Taming of the Shrew.
Basically, Lucentio wants to marry Baptista’s youngest daughter, Bianca, but Baptista denies his, Gremio, and Hortensio’s suits because he wants his eldest daughter, the shrew Kate, to marry first. Along comes Petruchio, who is more interested in Kate’s dowry, claiming to be in love with Kate, and Baptista quickly says yes to Petruchio’s offer of marriage. Kate is furious, but is married off to Petruchio anyways while Lucentio disguises himself as a tutor in order to woo Bianca. Petruchio carries Kate off and proceeds to starve her of sleep and food in order to make her an obedient wife, and Lucentio and Bianca elope in order to make sure Baptista can’t split them up or accept old Gremio’s suit.
Quite a few people call this play horribly sexist and deeming towards women, and for the most part it is as it has a tendency to glorify what we would nowadays call spousal abuse. But The Taming of the Shrew is also one of the funniest plays Shakespeare wrote. Grumio, Patruchio’s manservant, and Tranio, Lucentio’s manservant, steal the show through their antics, especially Tranio’s impersonation of Lucention. And, as I told my father, ” The Taming of the Shrew may have man end up on top, but All’s Well that End’s Well has woman on top so it all works out in the end.
- Shakespeare, William. “The Taming of the Shrew”. New York: Washington Square Press, 2004. Originally written between 1590 – 1594. Print. 110 pgs. ISBN: 9780743477574. Source: PaperBackSwap.