The Bard a Month Club discussion

The Taming of the Shrew
This topic is about The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew > Taming of the Shrew: Thoughts & Discussion

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Adam (spartacus007) | 95 comments Mod
Thoughts and discussion about The Taming of the Shrew

message 2: by Maggs1 (new)

Maggs1 | 4 comments I'll be starting this tonight and I am really looking forward to it!

Leslie Ann (leslie_ann) I read the play and Harold Bloom's essay in Shakespeare: the Invention of the Human; I also just finished watching the Zeffirelli adaptation (with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton) and "10 Things I Hate About You."

Before watching the adaptations, the only part I found really enjoyable was Katherine and Petruchio's verbal sparring at their first meeting. I couldn't make sense of Katherine's final speech (and didn't buy Bloom's argument about it), and wondered why Shakespeare bothered with the Induction when he didn't bring it back at the end. Finally, Petruchio's methods made me think of the gaslighting in our current political situation.

Watching the Zeffirelli adaptation, however, persuaded me that Katherine is only playing along, and made me appreciate more the duplicity involved not only in the courtship of Bianca, but also the taming of Katherine - or is it Petruchio? In comparison, "10 Things I Hate About You" did a very nice job of highlighting Petruchio's transformation from mercenary motives to true admiration.

Adam (spartacus007) | 95 comments Mod
@Leslie Ann - I agree that Elizabeth Taylor nailed the role, but I'm not sure I agree with Bloom's defense of the play. It's hard to watch or read in the 21st Century without cringing through much of it.

Especially in the Zeffirelli adaption, where Petruchio chases Kate even when she leaps through the window and runs across the roof to get away from him!

My feeling is that Shakespeare was just kind of obtuse about women this early in his career.

Lör K. (transsyo) | 2 comments Now, I'm curious because I do like Shakespeare, I do love his works, but I found this quite tedious. Even my boyfriend who read it with me said it was hard to focus on, even when we were reading it out loud to each other. I found myself wishing for it to be over and I got such a surge of relief when I finally read the last word. The way Shakespeare wrote about women in The Taming of the Shrew was vile, and not like him at all and I found it quite disheartening.

Anyone else feel the same, or disagree?

Leslie Ann (leslie_ann) @Adam: I'm going to withhold judgment about Shakespeare's feelings about women until I read (and remember!) more of his plays. What's interesting is that how the lack of direction in the plays gives freedom to the director to interpret the words.

@Syo: I found Bianca's courtship tedious reading and I didn't understand its purpose, but watching the Zeffirelli adaptation showed me its comedic function. The multiple deceptions also resonated with the question of who is deceiving whom in the Katherine/Petruchio romance.

Mark Schultz | 7 comments Well, all I can say is that I’m not a big fan of this play. My guess is that Shakespeare wrote it with the theme of re-establishing the supposed "right order" of things of his day, men's subordination of women, or some such notion. While the lack of direction does give space for different interpretations that better match today's prevalent understanding of what is right, I still don't think that's what Shakespeare was after. I think this is a play caught in the mainstream consciousness of the time. Unlike Bloom, I don't think Shakespeare invented the human and had god-like powers -- though some of his works are undoubtedly among the very best in the English language.

On the other hand, I do really like one of this play's offspring, the Broadway musical/movie “Kiss Me Kate.” That’s mostly for the dancing and singing, which is tremendous (featuring Ann Miller, Howard Keel, and the really funny number “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” with Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore.)

Lör K. (transsyo) | 2 comments @Leslie I only just saw your reply! Thank you very much for explaining that a little more for me! The courting truly was purely tedious and I had to grit my teeth through a lot of it. I'm hoping next month's play is better, anyhow!

Joseph (jsaltal) This was the first Shakespeare play I saw in person. It was in grammar school.

message 10: by Megg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Megg | 2 comments Just finished this play.

Clearly this is Shakespeare's most controversial play. The fact that it is still discussed, however, 400 years later is quite an achievement in itself, no?

My little thought in all this history is the idea that Shakespeare made a play that had so many possibilities. The interpretations are immense, perhaps unending. How many plays can live up to that?

Being from a theater background, this play should be seen and not just read. I found some fantastical interpretations...

First, check out Morgan Freeman on PBS talking about just this idea of controversy and multiple interpretations...

Then, give a look see to perhaps one of the best Petruchio's ever done by none other than John Cleese. YES the one from Python. It's just about genius. It's on Amazon Prime at...

And then read Kate's final, fantastic monologue which is the longest in the play. It can still be pondered and interpreted and even hated or loved.

This is the genius of Shakespeare.

“Sit by my side, and let the world slip: we shall ne'er be younger.”

back to top