forget Midnight Summers. This is my favorite indeed. For it’s wit. For it’s characters. So much so that I watched probably every movie: 1967 with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the Russian version 1961 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0125571/
) Kiss Me, Kate (The musical, which i happen to see by mistake on Classical chanel just last week (amazing)))) and of course my favorite remake: “10 things I hate about you” (yes yes I did like the movie a lot. I even got a tape!) I just reread it too. Couldn’t help myself J.
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If you read Taming of the Shrew carefully it is not all that clear who tamed whom. Many argue that Katarina had enough brains to send Petruccio on his merry way. However she saw her equal in that brilliant spar we witnessed in their first meeting. You see most other man lacked the qualities a smart woman desires thus they all would receive the same rebuff ! ! ! from Katharina. In those days a brain was not a requirement for a woman in fact it was a burden (much like today if not hidden carefully). She found herself traped in a society that labeled her a 'shrew'. Petruccio provided the only way out - marriage. Thus she complied, played along and ALLOWED herself to be immersed in the atmosphere where her role as a wife of a nobleman was infact acceptable to others. The last scene, you may argue, should disprove this theory. However, if we take a closer look Shakespear allows much room for interpretation. Petruccio was poor and Katharina was tired of being mocked within her own family. Was not that a joke play! ed! b! y the two to gain the reward and to belittle the wifes deemed better than Katharina.
The Taming of the Shrew playes havily on the idea that our environment, how we are perceived and are treated by others, influences the way that we behave. The induction and the main story echo each other. Christopher is the lords puppet while Catherine is the puppet of Petruccio.
The story of the shrew is enveloped in another story about a drunkard Christopher Sly who is being played by a lord. A lord finds him passed out and decides for his own amusement to have the drunkard wake up and think that he’s the lord. The actual lord gets his serviceman and a theater troop that arrive to play along and dresses one of the boys as Christophers wife. When Christopher wakes up everyone plays along including the boy (page) and convince Christopher that he is indeed a lord. Realizing he has a wife Christopher demands to be left along with her. To which the page respectfully replies that physicians have forbid it for another day or two. Christopher is then prompted to go watch a play to cure his melancholy.
Lucinzio arrives with his servant to the Padua to study. They encounters Baptista and his two daughters (Katharina and Bianca) on the street. They are followed by Gremio and Hortensio, cortiers of Bianca. Lucinzio falls madly in love with Bianca. “I burn, I pine, I perish” he reveals to Tanio. After hearing that Bianca cannot marry until Katharina is wed and meanwhile Bianca must concentrate on her studies Lucinzio decides to pretend to be a tutor to gain access to Bianca. In this first scene Katharina shows her first signs of “shrewedness” by protesting the way her father treats her.
Petruchio comes to visit Hortensio with his servant Grumio. When asked what is he doing in Pedua Petruchio reveals that his father has died and now Petruchio is looking for a rich wife to better his affairs. Hortensio offers Katharina, but warns that she’s known for her bad temper. Petruchio doesn’t seem to care as long as she’s rich. In fact the more Hortensio describes Katharina the more Petrucio seems to be interested. He looks upon it as a challenge. Hortensio then asks Petruchio to present himself to Baptista as a tutor to Bianca. Then disguesded Lucinzio arrive with Gremio and then Tranio enters disguised as Lucinzio with his new servant. They all discuss the situation and then go adrinking.
The scene opens with Katharina and Bianca quarrelling. Well actually Katharina tied Bianca’s hands and refused to untie them until Bianca tell her which one of her suitors she likes best. Bianca tells her that she hasn’t met “the one” as of yet and will give up any suitor Katharina likes for herself. The father enters and brakes the fight. Both girls leave. Then the guys come in and make their introductions of the suitors, teachers etc. Baptista sends the teachers and the suitors to the girls while he and Petruccio discuss katharina’s dowry. Hortensio returns pale claiming that Katharina hit him with a lute. Petruccio hearing this asks Baptista to send Katharina out to him and devises a plan to woo her:
“I will attend her here,
And woo her with some spirit when she comes.
Say that she rail; why then I'll tell her plain
She sings as sweetly as a nightingale:
Say that she frown, I'll say she looks as clear
As morning roses newly wash'd with dew:
Say she be mute and will not speak a word;
Then I'll commend her volubility,
And say she uttereth piercing eloquence:
If she do bid me pack, I'll give her thanks,
As though she bid me stay by her a week:
If she deny to wed, I'll crave the day
When I shall ask the banns and when be married.
But here she comes; and now, Petruchio, speak.”
When they first make they introduction they spar showing showing themselves to be of equal intellect.
Asses are made to bear, and so are you.
Women are made to bear, and so are you.
Come, come, you wasp; i' faith, you are too angry.
If I be waspish, best beware my sting.
My remedy is then, to pluck it out.
Petruchio then claims that all who told him that Katharina is a shrew were liars:
No, not a whit: I find you passing gentle.
'Twas told me you were rough and coy and sullen,
And now I find report a very liar;
For thou are pleasant, gamesome, passing courteous,
But slow in speech, yet sweet as spring-time flowers:
Thou canst not frown, thou canst not look askance,
Nor bite the lip, as angry wenches will,
Nor hast thou pleasure to be cross in talk,
But thou with mildness entertain'st thy wooers,
With gentle conference, soft and affable.
Why does the world report that Kate doth limp?
O slanderous world! Kate like the hazel-twig
Is straight and slender and as brown in hue
As hazel nuts and sweeter than the kernels.
O, let me see thee walk: thou dost not halt.
He then proposes and forbids her to deny to her father that they are engaged:
Marry, so I mean, sweet Katharina, in thy bed:
And therefore, setting all this chat aside,
Thus in plain terms: your father hath consented
That you shall be my wife; your dowry 'greed on;
And, Will you, nill you, I will marry you.
Now, Kate, I am a husband for your turn;
For, by this light, whereby I see thy beauty,
Thy beauty, that doth make me like thee well,
Thou must be married to no man but me;
For I am he am born to tame you Kate,
And bring you from a wild Kate to a Kate
Conformable as other household Kates.
Here comes your father: never make denial;
I must and will have Katharina to my wife.
He proves to be an equal to her in wit and brazen in saying ““will you, nill you, I will marry you”… Persistance is a virtue!
Baptista then returns to find out how things are progressing. When he sets the date Kate promises to hang him before that day then to marry him. But Petruchio convinces her father that she’s only shrewed in public because she’s modest. In private however, she professed her love for him… To which Kate replies nothing.
Petrucio arrives to marry Kate wearing some very shabby clothes. He embarrases her at the altar and then decides to leave right away when she opposes he claims:
will be master of what is mine own:
She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,
My household stuff, my field, my barn,
My horse, my ox, my ass, my any thing;
And here she stands, touch her whoever dare;
I'll bring mine action on the proudest he
That stops my way in Padua. Grumio,
Draw forth thy weapon, we are beset with thieves;
Rescue thy mistress, if thou be a man.
Fear not, sweet wench, they shall not touch
I'll buckler thee against a million.
Petrucio and Kate come to his country house. She’s tired. She fell on the way there and while Petrucio was raving mad the horses ran away. She’s hungry. The servants bring in the dinner but Petrucio makes a fuss about the meat being burnt and he takes Kate to sleep not intending to let her sleep at all at night by prending that that the bed is not made up properly. He means to “kill [his] wife with kindness”
Tailor brings in the clothes and Kate likes a garmet claiming all gentlewomen where them. Petruchio forbids it until Kate becomes gentle . She responds:
Why, sir, I trust I may have leave to speak;
And speak I will; I am no child, no babe:
Your betters have endured me say my mind,
And if you cannot, best you stop your ears.
My tongue will tell the anger of my heart,
Or else my heart concealing it will break,
And rather than it shall, I will be free
Even to the uttermost, as I please, in words.
And then the climax when Petruccio and Katharina win the bet and Katharina teaches the other wives what a good wife should be:
Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow,
And dart not scornful glances from those eyes,
To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor:
It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads,
Confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair buds,
And in no sense is meet or amiable.
A woman moved is like a fountain troubled,
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty;
And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;
And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
I am ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace;
Or seek for rule, supremacy and sway,
When they are bound to serve, love and obey.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come, you froward and unable worms!
My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
My heart as great, my reason haply more,
To bandy word for word and frown for frown;
But now I see our lances are but straws,
Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
And place your hands below your husband's foot:
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready; may it do him ease.