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The Drama

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					     The Drama

How does this compare with
       the novel?
“The essence of drama is
       conflict”
 Identify the conflicts in the play

 (note similarity / difference from
             the novel)
Direct confrontations
            Very
             physical

            Highly
             verbal
Direct confrontations
            The hostess & Sly
            Kate & Baptista
            Kate & Bianca‟s
             suitors
            Kate & Bianca
            Kate & Petruchio
            Petruchio & the other
             husbands (the
             BET)
            The suitors (bidding)
What do you notice about
     the conflicts?
   Most of the conflicts involve Kate and
    they are not usually resolved:

   She always exits in anger:
    - after quarrelling with Bianca‟s suitors
    - after accusing Baptista of favouritism, “She is
    your treasure”
What do you notice about
     the conflicts?
   Not resolved:

   She is systematically denied a voice:
    - has no lines after protesting against Petruchio‟s
    proposal to marry her
    - carried off without having a taste of the bridal feast
    - led away to her chamber after being denied food
    - silenced by Petruchio‟s command to “Look what I
    speak, or do, or think to do”
What do you notice about
     the conflicts?

   „Resolution‟ comes in the form of
    Katherina‟s acquiescence to Petruchio‟s
    commands.

   Kate has no soliloquy, only what she says
    to others: Ambiguity in how she views her
    marriage.
Conflicts & Katherina
Kate presented as constantly
         ANGRY

 The suitors‟ insults: public humiliation
     Bap‟s favouritism & authority
 Refusal to submit to a „type‟, use deceit
      Being forced to marry Pet
           Humiliation by Pet
           Not having her way
 Conflicts & Katherina
The significance of Kate‟s ANGER

           Combative (like Louie)
      Restless: her need to speak up
The Individual against the system (Patriarchy)
               Her VOICE
“Language of revolt and anger” – resistance
         through combative language
Conflicts & The Play

 Conflicts generate TENSION

   Tension is central to a play
  Conflicts & The Play
         Tension is central to a play

Highlights the sexual tension between K & P
   Man-woman relationship involves power
                    struggle
marriage a means to subdue the independent-
               minded Katherina
K‟s submission visually indicated by her kissing
                         P
     Constant testing suggests tension
  Conflicts & The Play
         Tension is central to a play

          Highlights K‟s Otherness
K‟s exclusion stemming from her outspokenness
          Bianca‟s silence “flouts” K
    Her interactions with others marked by
  conflicts, disharmony because she refuses to
                 submit to a „type‟
                        Notes to sum up Part I
   While writing about drama, make mentions of „the audience‟ (treat as singular) and constantly show
    awareness of what the playwright is doing to create stage effect.
   Conflict is the essence of Shakespearian plays. In Shrew, the conflicts are both physical (violent) &
    verbal (insults, quarrels)
   Conflicts in Shrew involve Kate predominantly. Why? She‟s the outsider, rebelling against a system
    that discriminates against someone like her: loud, noisy, unmalleable, rough, forthright. These traits of
    Kate are presented as undesirable in a woman. Such traits have no place in the patriarchal system, as
    the conflicts between Kate & the suitors emphasise. Ironically, though the men in the play deny she has
    a rightful place in their society, they assign her a label, that of a „shrew‟ or a „scold‟. Interesting, a parallel
    can be found in both novels as well. Ruth and Jeanette, both outsiders to their communities, have their
    „outsider‟ status confirmed in the labels they are given, „transient‟ for Ruth, and „lesbian‟ for Jeanette.
    These labels are meant to indicate their rejection and marginalisation by their societies.
   These conflicts are symptomatic of disorder in society. This disorder is captured in the images and
    language of violence. Images like „loud alarum‟ (find other similar images) emphasise dissonance. Kate
    puns on „frets‟ so that instead of learning the frets that produce harmonious music, she literally „frets‟ by
    breaking the lute over Hortensio‟s head, thus producing disharmony.
   Kate‟s combative presence, marked by all the conflicts she has with others, is portrayed as the source
    of disorder. The taming of Kate is thus presented as necessary for the restoration of order in her
    society.
   Conflict is also a central concern in Oranges. Jeanette‟s conflicts with her mother, teachers and,
    subsequently, her conflict with the larger institution, the Church, are essential indicators of her
    development from compliant child and servant of God to independent woman.
   The same cannot be said for Housekeeping, except for the conflict between the sisters, and that
    between Lucille and Sylvie. Tension is generated mostly by estrangement: between mother an
    ddaughters, between sisters, between the transients and the Fingerbone community.
     The Duelling


           Language
Interaction between characters
     Katherina speaks up
I pray you, sir, is it your will
To make a stale of me amongst these mates ?
[anger at being made a public spectacle]

A pretty peat! It is best put finger in the eye, and she knew
  why.
[scornful of deceptive tricks; sense of injustice]
    Katherina speaks up
What? Shall I be appointed hours, as though, belike, I knew
 not what to take and what to leave? Ha?

[outright defiance of father‟s authority]

                                Nay, now I see
She is your treasure, she must have a husband,
I must dance barefoot on her wedding-day,
And for your love to her lead apes in hell
Talk not to me, I will go sit and weep,
Till I can find occasion of revenge.

[anger at injustice; „revenge‟ – threatening]
    Katherina speaks up
I see a woman may be made a food
If she had not a spirit to resist.

[outright defiance of husband‟s authority]

             Why, sir, I trust I may have leave to speak
And speak I will…My tongue will tell the anger of my heart,
Or else my heart concealing it will break,
And rather than that it shall, I will be free
Even to the uttermost, as I please, in words.

[right to feel, right to express feelings – freedom
   in both the basis of her humanity]
      Strategic Silences
   Petruchio‟s proposal accepted – extensive
    speech that deliberately inverts K‟s qualities

   P‟s arrival in rags – long description of P‟s
    appearance & exchange with Bap & Tra

   P‟s abuse of the servants

   Argument between Grumio & Tailor

     Room for ambiguity: how is she silenced?
Katherina talks to Petruchio
   Watch video excerpt 1 & excerpt 2

Notes:

 How the film version differs from the text
 The nature of the exchange
 How the director handles K‟s acquiescence
  to Pet‟s proposal
 Here‟s an analysis
Katherina talks to Petruchio
Notes:
 The exchange is quick, unrelenting
 Puns & wordplay, including sexual puns: K is
  an even match for Pet
 Petruchio‟s language is linguistically similar to
  K‟s in its puns and wordplay
 Pet attempts to make K a Bianca, with words
 Wooing here is characterised by highly
  imaginative use of language and impromptu
  linguistic play vs. the wooing of Bianca (B
  repeat verbatim Luc‟s words)
                      Notes to sum up Part II
   Examine Kate‟s voice: it stands out because it‟s loud and dissonant. Anger marks most of her
    speeches, and is the key characteristic of Katherina‟s voice.

   Notice that when Kate speaks in anger, the audience is left in doubt of how she feels. Her angry
    speeches are explicit in showing her frustration, sense of injustice being done to her and bitterness at
    being constantly humiliated publicly.

   One key speech comes in Act 4, where she makes a stand on her right to speech. In this speech, she
    makes the crucial connection between being able to voice her true feelings and being free. So being
    able to express clearly her feelings is essential for her well-being.

   Curiously, Kate‟s speeches become less and less strident after that last protest. The less angry her
    speeches are, the more the audience become doubtful of her real feelings. How does she feel about
    being forced to call Vincentio a maiden? Is her last speech, consisting mainly of conventional wisdom
    about a woman‟s duties, a true reflection of her feelings. There is no longer any reference to highly
    person feelings, like “anger to my heart”, but only commonplace sentiments. The sincerity and
    forthrightness of her previous speeaches are lost. This can be an argument in favour of Katherina‟s
    loss of individuality/disempowerment.
The Side Show

The sub plot: Intrigues
          What sub-plot?
   Trickery: role-switching & disguises (to woo
    Bianca on the sly)

   The wooing of Bianca: Lucentio &
    Hortensio

   Bianca‟s secret engagement

   Mistaken identity: fake Vincentio meets the
    real deal
     Bianca & Katherina
   Bianca as a foil to Katherina

Her silence flouts Katherina

“That wench is stark mad or wonderful froward”
“But in the other‟s silence do I see / Maid‟s
  mild behaviour and sobriety”

Her silent exit (“To your pleasure humbly I
 subscribe”) vs K‟s tantrum (“shall I be
 appointed hours”)
     Bianca & Katherina
 Non-threatening: loves poetry, music
 Celebrated / placed on a pedestal:
Sweet Bianca
Fair Bianca
Young modest girl
“perfume the air. / Sacred and sweet” (Lucentio) vs “curst and shrewd”
She is sweeter than perfume herself (Gremio)
The jewel of my life (Hortensio)
So beloved of me ((Hor)
The choice love of Signior Gremio
She is your treasure
The prize
   Assured place in the patriarchy
      Bianca & Katherina
   Love for Bianca declared in conventional
    lover‟s terms (“I burn, I pine, I perish”) but Pet
    declares that he is “rough and woo not like a
    babe”

   The Bianca-Luc intrigue becomes a
    comment on Kate-Pet relationship: one is
    based on illusions of love; the other on brutal
    reality (“I come to wive it wealthily in Padua”)
     Bianca & Katherina
   Bianca plays by the rule and subverts the
    system from within; Katherina rebels openly
    and is forced into submission

   Bianca gets to choose her mate; Pet is
    forced on Kate: woman‟s wiles

   Words, words, words: women are what men
    make of them. Luc creates a perfect image of
    Bianca, Pet insists on misrepresenting Kate.
The Comedy
    Shrew as Comedy
  “a work in which materials are selected and
  managed primarily to interest and amuse us”

“The characters and their discomfitures engage
    our delighted attention rather than our
              profound concern.”

 “We feel confident that no great disaster will
    occur, and usually the action turns out
       happily for the chief characters.”
     Shrew as Farce
“a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and
    horseplay and typically including crude
 characterisation and ludicrously improbable
                  situations”

          Defining features:
     Horseplay, buffoonery, vulgarity
 Use of improvisions
Extended improvisational passages, with
      extravagant physical byplay

              Some examples:
            „knock me here‟ gag
    “I‟ll buckler thee against a million”
     Petruchio abusing his servants
    Trickery: the pedant as Vincentio
Mistaken identity: Vincentio & the Pedant
  Commedia dell‟arte
 “Italian comedy that relies on stock
     characters, largely improvised
  dialogue around a given scenario.”

Developed in the mid 16 th century by
 guilds of professional Italian actors.
Use of stock characters
          Petruchio – the cavalier
  Baptista & Gremio – the Pantaloons
  The servants – provide the visual gags
The lovers – typically clever and wilful girl and
                   her lover
       Katherina – the shrewish wife
      Shrew as a comedy?
Treating it as a comedy trivialises K‟s suffering.
 K‟s happiness is assumed once she submits.
  Chaos (K) tamed into order (patriarchy?)
      Resolution? (tamed a curst shrew)
    Shrew as a comedy?


       Here‟s what Penny Gay says:
Shakespeare turns “a classical farce, where
 artificial chaos is finally resolved in a simple
solution, into something far more unstable …”.
             Ambiguities
   How does the actress in the role of
    Katherina respond to Petruchio‟s abuse of
    his servants?
   Petruchio‟s physical restraining of Kate: too
    close to the farcical beating to be
    comfortable?
   How will K do her „obedience‟ speech? With
    heavy irony?
   The play ends with Lucentio‟s wondering,
    “‟Tis a wonder…she will be tam‟d so”
   Ends with Pet‟s crowing about his winning –
    couched in terms of monetary wager.
            Ambiguities
 Explicit bargaining between Bap & the
  suitors; Bap & Pet
 Pet speaks of „specialties‟ and „covenants‟,
  Bap insists on love, “when the special thing is
  well obtain‟d / That is, her love; for that is all
  in all.”
 Bap suggests later that Bianca‟s love can be
  purchased, “he of both / That can assure my
  daughter greatest dower / Shall have my
  Bianca‟s love”. Sits uncomfortably with Bap
  assuming the “merchant‟s role”.
             Ambiguities
 After Katherina‟s unwilling exit with Pet,
  Bap resumes „business as usual‟ by
  ominously asking Bianca to “take her sister‟s
  place”
 Trania‟s tease, “Shall sweet Bianca practise
  how to bride it” hints at female subordination
  being inevitable.

   Not an unalloyed celebrations of nuptials –
    hints of disharmony, appearances vs reality
The Metaphors

Of shrew, falconry and
 household chattels
                    Shrew
P123 Introduction:
 Associated with the devil: evil, malignant


   characteristics of the shrew: energy, irascibility,
    noise

   shrew‟s image best conveys K‟s restlessness &
    aggressiveness

   K‟s ranting dismissed as unpleasant, „noise‟;
    largely ineffectual because she doesn‟t speak
    the language (of obedience and submission)
    endorsed by the patriarchy.
                   Shrew
   Literary figure of the shrew/scold: male fantasy
    of female dominance

   Scolding as verbal rebellion
                 Shrew
Effects of such a presentation:
- Totally contrary to presentation of Bianca
  as “treasure”, “jewel”
- Demeaning: as used by the suitors
- Signals her rejection by others: the shrew is
  not a well-loved animal. Her Otherness
- A misunderstood animal wrongly attributed
  with devious characteristics.
- The image of the shrew is replaced by the
  image of the falcon in Act 4.
                Falconry
   Kate as untrained falcon who must be
    “manned” & tested

   Extended imagery of taming: relentless
    images of mastery

   the relationship between the gentleman and
    his hawk is one of mutual respect and
    dependence. The hawk is a killer bird, but it
    will return to the master after the kill.
                Falconry
Effects of such a presentation:
   Emphasises the domestication of Kate: her
    wild nature tamed

   Establishes the relationship between K &
    Pet as one between servant & master; a
    relationship that rests on docility and
    tameness on Kate‟s part

   Seen positively? K retains her formidable
    trait (her speech); subjugated only to Pet.
        Economic images
   Specialities & covenants
   Conformable as other household Kates
    (cate = purchases); super-dainty Kate (K‟s
    dowry is worth twenty thousand crowns & one
    half of Bap‟s lands
   She‟s my goods, my chattels…
   Kate is “a commodity lay fretting”
   Bap plays “a merchant‟s part / And venture
    madly on a desperate mart”
   Bianca is a “treasure”, a “jewel”
   Success of marriage measured by a wager.
        Economic images
Effects of such a presentation:
   Marriage as a business transaction: satirises
    Luc‟s romantic and unrealistic illusions

   Women are commodified: assigned an
    economic value & traded by men (economy is
    the language of patriarchy)

   Seen as possessions: ownership to be
    claimed. No place for the individuals
        Economic images
Effects of such a presentation:

   Bianca‟s independence is measured in
    economic terms, “The wisdom of your duty,
    fair Bianca, / Hath cost me a hundred
    crowns since supper-time”

   Kate‟s obedience wins her another twenty
    thousand crowns as dowry from Bap, “For
    she‟s chang‟d, as she had never been”
The women & The Men
             The women & The Men
                                           Rivalry – resolved for mutual
   Rivalry – unresolved                    interests, “since this bar in law
                                            makes us friends, it shall be so
                                            far forth friendly maintained…”
   Physical fights, verbal jousting,
    “To her, Kate!”, “To her,
    widow!”                                Tranio (disguised as Luc) &
                                            Hor united in spurning Bianca
   Ends with Kate‟s admonition to
    the wives                              Joviality, camaraderie the
                                            hallmark of men‟s relationships
   Bitterness, jealousy, “I am mean,
    indeed, respecting you”                Networks / connections: “I
                                            know him well. You are
                                            welcome for his sake.”, “I know
                                            her father…and he knew my
                                            deceased father well”
       Questions for thinking

“Come on, and kiss me, Kate!”

How far do you think Shakespeare has
 presented a satisfactory resolution to the
 conflict between the sexes in The Taming
 of the Shrew?
        Questions for thinking

“…this puppet, this doll, this shell of a
  woman.”

Do you agree this is how Katherina is
 presented at the end of the play?
       Questions for thinking


Consider the ways in which the concept of
 the „shrew‟ is used and developed in the
 play.
        Questions for thinking

“For all their sparring, Katherine and
  Petruchio are a well-matched pair.”

How far do you agree with this comment on
 the play‟s central relationship?

				
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