Apr 15, 2013

The Taming of the Shrew

Just call me Shakespeare... because that seems to be all of been reading recently. Here's a list of the Shakespearean plays I've completed:
Shakesbear gets me.

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Hamlet
  • Macbeth
  • Twelfth Night (or What You Will)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • Othello
  • The Tempest
  • King Lear
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Julius Caesar
  • Richard III
  • The Winter's Tale
  • Measure for Measure
  • All's Well that Ends Well
  • The Taming of the Shrew
And that doesn't even mention any of the sonnets. "I wasted time, and now doth time waste me." I wasted time all right! Reading when I should've been studying biology! I've done blogs thus far on a few (click to view them), but if you'd like me to do a synopsis of others, don't be afraid to comment! 

Such a cute little shrew...
Most recently I've finished The Taming of the Shrew, and shrewish she was! The book is basically the definition of a volatile sibling rivalry. Bianca is a lovely girl - classic beauty, domesticated, known for her quiet and gentle mannerisms. Katherine is the exact opposite. She's known through Italy for being unbearable. Her actions are so out of hand, for the time period, that even her insanely wealth Mr. Moneybags daddy can't marry her off; no one will take her! (Would you wanna get stuck with a beautiful, rich hag for the rest of your life!? Some things are simply deal breakers.) Her dad won't give Bianca away to any of her slightly-less-wealthy-than-him-and-equally-old suitors until Katherine gets married.

Seriously, Petruccio? Seriously?
Enter Lucentio. Lucentio sees Bianca, falls in love, and applies for the position of her tutor with the introduction of one of her suitors (he'd promised the suitor to tell Bianca of the suitor's love for her, but in fact intended to begin vying for her hand under the guise of a tutor). Meanwhile, a man named Petruccio comes to town and hears that Katherine is available, rich and that her dad is looking for someone take her. He basically wants to get rid of her... which is kind of terrible. When he hears this, he's like "I can tame her." TAME her!? Like she's a pet!? Exccuuusse me!? Petruccio goes and "woos" Katherine. Meaning that he's like "Hey. You? Me? We're gettin' hitched." Real killer lines there, bud. At least buy her dinner first! Isn't there a three-date minimum on proposals?

Why did they get married?
Petruccio shows up to their wedding looking totally ratchet. Like... #notacceptable. Katherine is irate, and it seems like their marriage is off to a great start (similar to Kim Kardashian's... 72 days will be longer than Kathruccio will last.)  The beginning of their life as a married couple goes roughly, to say the least, and continues to be awful, with Petruccio seeming to be nearly abusive, up until Katherine finds out that if she does as Petruccio says, he will treat her to what she wants. If she relinquishes her power, he will give her the "desires of her heart.

Katherine and Petruccio go back to her family's town to visit, Lucentio and Biance get married (after a whole lot of not-very-important-to-te-plot drama), and Katherine proves herself to be submissive to her husband in front of the whole town... big turn around for the previous shrew! The play ends with a long monologue from Katherine addressing both her sister and one of her previous suitor's wife, telling them that they should submit to their husbands. Literally saying to place their hands under his feet, and basically wait for him to smash them. Then they sing a lovely song together and all is well.

Elizabeth Taylor in The Taming of the Shrew
Aside from the insanely misogynistic tones of this play... well... I can't even properly describe everything that is wrong with all of the plot line and urges that each of the character's have. Despite it's slight twistedness, Shakespeare is still a genius, and this has been acknowledged through several different renditions of the play. The lovely Elizabeth Taylor plays Katherine in a 1967 version of The Taming of the Shrew, alongside Richard Burton. There have also been several interpretations, including Kiss Me Kate (1953, Dorothy Kingsley), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999, Julia Styles and Heath Ledger), and Shakespeare Re-told's The Taming of the Shrew (2005) featuring Shirley Henderson (think Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter) and Simon Chandler. Each of the movies is different, unique, and amazing in it's own way, so I'd suggest checking out all of them!

Hope you enjoy it, and I will be back shortly!

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