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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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