View Full Version : Who tames who?

Rachel E. Hinton
05-24-2005, 06:07 PM
Reading the play isn't exactly the same as seeing it. It is often hard to understand Shakespeare's intent from just the words. However, if you find an annotated copy or a version with Shakespeare's notes (very rare), his intent is clearer.<br><br>Without these, seeing the play is probably the best way to see his intention assuming that the actress playing Kate has been given the proper stage directions. If played properly, when the other actors aren't looking at her, she turns to the audience and uses body language and other non-verbal cues to communicate that she isn't tamed. She is just playing along CHOOSING to play the part of the "tamed shrew" because she has come to love Petruchio.<br><br>In fact, they learn to love each other through their sparring. She realizes how lonely she is and he learns that women can have brains and ARE to be respected. In many ways, her resistance to him is what makes him love her more. With each sparring match he finds an adversary equal to himself. In the long run, he realizes he doesn't want a wife who is acquiescent. He likes the excitement his "shrew" brings to the relationship and wouldn't want anybody else.<br><br>If anything, Shakespeare was ahead of his time. He was willing to write Kate as a strong character. This isn't unusual if you look at some of his other female characters: Lady MacBeth, Portia, and even Juliet willing to defy her family for the man she loves. In his time, these roles were very hard to play as women weren't allowed to act. All roles, male and female, were played by men. Female characters used masks to cover their faces. This made it harder for men to play Kate. The role was normally reserved for only the best actors because of this.<br><br>What I find really interesting in all of these posts is that no one mentions Cole Porter's "Kiss Me Kate" (Dec 1948 - July 1951; many revivals since including a current national touring company). The libretto written by comedy writers Sam and Bella Spewack’s a favorite of Cole Porter who described it as “the best ever”. The Cole Porter Reference Guide Web site calls Kiss Me Kate the "musical version of The Taming of the Shrew". The following is taken from PBS's Great Performances Web site:<br><br>Taking its inspiration from Shakespeare, "Kiss Me, Kate" recounts the backstage and onstage antics of two feuding romantic couples during a touring production of "The Taming of the Shrew." <br><br>This is classic Shakespeare: the play within the play.<br><br>The Taming of the Shrew has inspired many diverse productions because fundamentally its premise is equality between the sexes.