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As a modern audience, we must remember to be mindful of the society in which Shakespeare wrote The Taming of the Shrew when we analyze it. This was a time when marriages were made for the convenience of the fathers far more often than for a love already existing between the bride and groom; people often were married without having known each other for very long, and sometimes without ever having met. Instead, one hoped to find love within the marriage once it was in place, to learn to love one's partner--there really were no "better" options. It is also doubtful that acting upon "love at first sight," in any society, necessarily brings greater happiness in marriage than does the slowly-developed, consistent love of a married couple who have learned how to live with and for each other. These are the two contrasting relationships that we see in the play, the former between Lucentio and Bianca, and the latter between Petruchio and Kate.

Thus the "ideal" married relationship presented by the play does not concern the "match made in heaven," in which the man and woman are perfectly suited for each other from the beginning. Rather, and much more realistically, it deals with the proper dispositions that a man and woman might arrive at in order to form a more peaceful, if not perfect, union. The question is not whether Petruchio is Italy's most eligible bachelor--certainly, he is at times grossly misogynistic, possessive, and condescending. However, at the beginning of the play, Kate is by disposition Padua's most ineligible maid. After all, as the title suggests, the play is fundamentally about a shrew, and Kate's transformation is its primary dramatic element. So the question becomes, is Petruchio the right man to bring about this transformation, and the answer is a resounding "yes." Only the carefree, persistent, self-assured manner of a man like Petruchio could break through the barriers of words that Kate has put up between herself and marriage.

Furthermore, Kate gradually reveals throughout the play that she does not truly wish for these barriers to remain standing; when Petruchio is late in arriving to the wedding, she fears the loneliness of an old maid far more than the constrictedness of a marriage. It would hardly have done her any good to have married a malleable man who would alway consent to her headstrong will and endure her tongue-lashings, for that marriage could never have been anything but a dichotomy. Though Petruchio stifles and at times humiliates her, the result is that Kate in the end can enjoy her married life, and, as she finally reveals near the end of the play, can love her husband in that life.


The play is about a young woman, Catherine, her sister, Claire, and a young man, Hal, who studied under her father, Robert and their search for the truth about a mathematical proof. The main character, Catherine, is a confused and disturbed young woman who gave up her own dreams to care for her dying father. Catherine has spent the past five years taking care of her mentally ill father, and when he dies her sacrifices are completely under appreciated. Her sister, Claire, wants Catherine to come to New York where she can keep an eye on Catherine.  Then there is Hal who plays Catherine romantic interest. With Hal, Catherine gets a change to claim herself as a mathematician of her fathers statue. The conflict comes when she generates a mathematical proof that might revolutionize mathematics. Yet Claire and Hal do not believe her and question whether she is trying to pass off her fathers work as her own.

John Lee Beatty's back-porch set indicates Robert and Catherine's living space through windows and screen doors. You could fell fall on the stage with a few leaves on the porch and some naked trees of to the side. Pat Collins' lighting is especially effective in the play. To fit the Walter Kerr stage, the porch appears to have been stretched out with neighbors houses on either side.

My personal reaction to this play was a good one. I truly believe that the entire production and the success of this play is dependent on Mary-Louis ... more

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The Taming of the Shrew: An Critique




The Taming of the Shrew: An Critique


    The Taming of the Shrew is one of the earliest comedies written by
sixteenth and seventeenth century English bard, William Shakespeare.  Some
scholars believe it may have been his first work written for the stage as well
as his first comedy (Shakespearean 310).    The earliest record of it being
performed on stage is in 1593 or 1594.  It is thought by many to be one of
Shakespeare's most immature plays (Cyclopedia 1106).
In The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio was the only suitor willing to
court Kate, the more undesirable of Baptista's  two daughters.  Kate was never
described as unattractive (Elizabeth Taylor played her role in one film of the
production), but was known for her shrewish behavior around all of Padua.
Bianca, on the other hand was very sweet and charming and beautiful; for these
reasons many suitors wooed her.  Kate was presented to be much more intelligent
and witty than Bianca, but, ironically, she could not compete with Bianca
because of these witty comebacks and caustic remarks she made (Dash 830).  All
of the men who desired Bianca needed somebody to marry Kate, as it was customary
for the older daughter to be married before the young one.  Finally, Petruchio
came along to court Kate, saying he wanted to marry wealthily in Padua. It
appeared, though, as if  Petruchio was the kind of man who needed an opposition
in life.  The shrewish Kate, who was known to have a sharp tongue, very
adequately filled his need for another powerful character in a relationship
(Kahn 419).  When Petruchio began to woo Kate, everybody was rather surprised,
but Signior Baptista agreed when Petruchio wanted marry her on Saturday of the
week he met her.  Clearly, he was not opposed because he wanted to hurry and get
Kate married so she would not be in Bianca's way anymore.  Petruchio showed up
to the wedding late and in strange attire, but nevertheless they were married
that Saturday.  Petruchio began his famous process of taming his bride.
    From the beginning, Petruchio wanted to dominate a relationship of two
dominating personalities.  He sought to tame her in a nonviolent but still
somewhat cruel fashion.  Petruchio's method of "taming" Kate featured depriving
her of the things she had taken for granted and been given all of her life, and
he sarcastically acted as if it was in her best interest (Leggatt 410).  In the
name of love, Petruchio refused to let her eat, under the pretense that she
deserved better food than what was being given her (Nevo 262).  Similarly,
Petruchio did not think that her bed was suitable for her to sleep in, so his
servants took turns keeping her awake and denying her the sleep that she so
desperately needed.  When the tailor brought in what seemed to be a very pretty
cap, Petruchio refused to let Kate have it, despite her incessant pleas to keep
the cap (Legatt 410).  Petruchio took the stance that Kate was his property, as
he pointed out in the second scene of act three:

              I will be master of what is mine own.
         230  She is my goods, my chattels, she is my house.
              My household stuff, my field, my barn,
              My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything.

    Petruchio's words left no doubt as to his belief in the patriarchal
marriage system that existed during Shakespeare's time, perhaps presented in
somewhat of an exaggerated form (Kahn 414).
    As tiredness, hunger, and frustration set in on Kate, her wildcat
personality began to weaken noticeably.  Because of the helplessness of her
situation, she began to show submission to her husband.  When Kate mentioned the
sun in a conversation, Petruchio absurdly disagreed with her and told her it was
the moon.  Kate proceeded to agree with him, to which, of course, he changed his
mind back.  Kate's response was that it changes even as his mind, and this was
the first sign of her submission to Petruchio (Evans 32).
    Petruchio's actions were very extreme during the play, but as Kate caught
on to their role playing their relationship improved (Nevo 262).  Many scholars
feel that, despite Kate's submissiveness in the  closing scene of the play, she
would continue to be a strong opposition for Petruchio.  Her representation at
the end of the play, however, is very docile and submissive.  There were several
points in the play during which she demonstrated her new found domesticated
personality.  Firstly, she showcased ... more

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  • R: Kiss me kate R: Kiss me kate kiss me kate As a modern audience, we must remember to be mindful of the society in which Shakespeare wrote The Taming of the Shrew when we analyze it. This was a time when marriages were made for the convenience of the fathers far more often than for a love already existing between the bride and groom; people often were married without having known each other for very long, and sometimes without ever having met. Instead, one hoped to find love within the marriage once it was in place, to learn ...
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  • Taming Of The Shrew Inside Taming Of The Shrew Inside Taming Of The Shrew Inside Despite the fact that Shakespeare is mostly known for its tragedian playwrights, yet, in The Taming Of The Shrew, he once again proves that he is capable to write anything even comedy. The Taming Of The Shrew is a play within a play. However, the play takes place towards the end of the 16th century. Most of the comedy scenes are shifted from the city to the country and back to the city. Therefore, most of the scenes took place in the city of Padua, Italy. Christopher S...
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  • kiss me kate kiss me kate kiss me kate As a modern audience, we must remember to be mindful of the society in which Shakespeare wrote The Taming of the Shrew when we analyze it. This was a time when marriages were made for the convenience of the fathers far more often than for a love already existing between the bride and groom; people often were married without having known each other for very long, and sometimes without ever having met. Instead, one hoped to find love within the marriage once it was in place, to learn ...
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  • Kiss me kate Kiss me kate kiss me kate As a modern audience, we must remember to be mindful of the society in which Shakespeare wrote The Taming of the Shrew when we analyze it. This was a time when marriages were made for the convenience of the fathers far more often than for a love already existing between the bride and groom; people often were married without having known each other for very long, and sometimes without ever having met. Instead, one hoped to find love within the marriage once it was in place, to learn ...
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  • Taming of the Shrew1 Taming of the Shrew1 Taming of the Shrew1 The Taming of the Shrew: Act IV Scene I Grumio arrives at Petruchios house after accompanying Petruchio and Kate on a long journey from Padua. Grumio affirms the fact that the servants are well prepared for the new couples arrival. He tells Curtis, another servant to Petruchio, of an incident that occurred on the trip. Katherinas horse had thrown on her off and then remained on top of her. Petruchios reaction was not to assist Katherina, but to strike Grumio for letting ...
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  • Taming Of Shrew Taming Of Shrew Taming Of Shrew In the Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio recognizes, respects and desires Kate\'s intelligence and strength of character. He does not want to conquer or truly tame her. He is a man who is very confident in himself and does not want or need someone to massage his ego. Petruchio seems to me to be a man of sport and challenge and likes to surround himself with witty, challenging people. He wants in a mate what Kate has - fire. Petruchio is the kind of man who would want a mate with sim...
  • Taming Of The Shrew Taming Of The Shrew Taming Of The Shrew The Taming of the Shrew: Act IV Scene I Grumio arrives at Petruchios house after accompanying Petruchio and Kate on a long journey from Padua. Grumio affirms the fact that the servants are well prepared for the new couples arrival. He tells Curtis, another servant to Petruchio, of an incident that occurred on the trip. Katherinas horse had thrown on her off and then remained on top of her. Petruchios reaction was not to assist Katherina, but to strike Grumio for letting t...
  • Taming Of The Shrew Analysis Taming Of The Shrew Analysis Taming Of The Shrew Analysis The Taming of the Shrew: Act IV Scene I Grumio arrives at Petruchios house after accompanying Petruchio and Kate on a long journey from Padua. Grumio affirms the fact that the servants are well prepared for the new couples arrival. He tells Curtis, another servant to Petruchio, of an incident that occurred on the trip. Katherinas horse had thrown on her off and then remained on top of her. Petruchios reaction was not to assist Katherina, but to strike Grumio for ...