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La Mechante Femme Mise a la Raison (The Taming of the Shrew in French)

La Mechante Femme Mise a la Raison (The Taming of the Shrew in French)

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La Mechante Femme Mise a la Raison (The Taming of the Shrew in French)

ratings:
3/5 (1,426 ratings)
Length:
147 pages
1 hour
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 1, 2018
ISBN:
9781455426515
Format:
Book

Description

Comédie de Shakespeare, traduite en français par François Pierre Guillaume Guizot (1787 - 1874), historien français et homme d'État. Publié en 1862. Selon Wikipedia: "La Mégère apprivoisée est une comédie de William Shakespeare, qui aurait été écrite entre 1590 et 1591. La pièce commence par un dispositif d'encadrement, souvent appelé l'Induction, dans lequel un malicieux Nobleman trompe un bricoleur bourré du nom de Sly pour lui faire croire qu'il est lui-même un noble.Le noble a ensuite joué pour la diversion de Sly.Le complot principal dépeint la parade de Petruchio, un gentilhomme de Vérone, et Katherina, la musaraigne obstinée et opiniâtre. Initialement, Katherina est une participante involontaire dans la relation, mais Petruchio la tempère avec divers tourments psychologiques - le «domptage» - jusqu'à ce qu'elle devienne une épouse docile et obéissante.La sous-intrigue présente une compétition entre les prétendants de la sœur plus désirable de Katherina, Bianca. "

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 1, 2018
ISBN:
9781455426515
Format:
Book

About the author

William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest playwright the world has seen. He produced an astonishing amount of work; 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and 5 poems. He died on 23rd April 1616, aged 52, and was buried in the Holy Trinity Church, Stratford.


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La Mechante Femme Mise a la Raison (The Taming of the Shrew in French) - William Shakespeare

LA MÉCHANTE FEMME MISE À LA RAISON, COMÉDIE PAR WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, TRADUCTION DE M. GUIZOT

published by Samizdat Express, Orange, CT, USA

established in 1974, offering over 14,000 books

Other Shakespeare comedies in French translation (by M. Guizot):

Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien    

Comme Il Vous Plaira    

La Comédie Des Méprises    

Peines D'Amour Perdues

Mesure Pour Mesure

Le Marchand De Venise

Les Joyeuses Bourgeoises De Windsor

Le Songe D'une Nuit D'Été

Beaucoup De Bruit Pour Rien

Le Jour Des Rois Ou Ce Que Vous Voudrez

Les Deux Gentilshommes De Vérone

feedback welcome: info@samizdat.com

visit us at samizdat.com

Ce document est tiré de: OEUVRES COMPLÈTES DE SHAKSPEARE

NOUVELLE ÉDITION ENTIÈREMENT REVUE AVEC UNE ÉTUDE SUR SHAKSPEARE DES NOTICES SUR CHAQUE PIÈCE ET DES NOTES

PARIS A LA LIBRAIRIE ACADÉMIQUE DIDIER ET Cie, LIBRAIRES-ÉDITEURS 35, QUAI DES AUGUSTINS 1862

NOTICE SUR LA MÉCHANTE FEMME MISE A LA RAISON.

PERSONNAGES

PROLOGUE

SCÈNE I, La scène est devant un cabaret, sur une bruyère.

SCÈNE II,  Chambre à coucher dans la maison du lord.

ACTE PREMIER

SCÈNE I,  Padoue.--Place publique.

SCÈNE II,  Devant la maison d'Hortensio.

ACTE PREMIER

SCÈNE I,  Padoue.--Place publique.

SCÈNE II,  Devant la maison d'Hortensio.

ACTE DEUXIÈME

SCÈNE I,  Padoue.--Appartement dans la maison de Baptista.

ACTE TROISIÈME

SCÈNE I,  Appartement de la maison de Baptista.

SCÈNE II,  Devant la maison de Baptista.

ACTE QUATRIÈME

SCÈNE I,  Vestibule dans la maison de campagne de Petruchio.

SCÈNE II,  Padoue.--Devant la maison de Baptista.

SCÈNE III,  Appartement dans la maison de Petruchio.SCÈNE IV,  Padoue.--Devant la maison de Baptista.

SCÈNE IV,  Padoue.--Devant la maison de Baptista.

SCÈNE V,  Une grande route.

ACTE CINQUIÈME

SCÈNE I,  Padoue.--La scène est devant la maison de Lucentio.

SCÈNE II,  Appartement de la maison de Lucentio.--Un banquet est servi.

NOTICE SUR LA MÉCHANTE FEMME MISE A LA RAISON.

 Nous avons ici deux pièces en une, et, malgré son titre modeste de Prologue, la première n'est pas celle qui nous plaît le moins. Christophe Sly est un des caractères les plus naturels de Shakspeare; il a toute la physionomie de Sancho Pança, et nous devons regretter qu'à partir du second acte ses commentaires sur la comédie qu'on représente devant lui ne soient pas parvenus jusqu'à nous. Chaque fois qu'une scène paraît digne de remarque, on est tenté de se demander ce que le poëte a dû faire observer à ce personnage pour qui sont tous les honneurs de la fête. Cette idée d'un paysan ivre, qu'un prince s'amuse à métamorphoser en grand seigneur, n'est plus neuve aujourd'hui; bien des conteurs et des auteurs dramatiques s'en sont emparés; mais nous ne connaissons aucune pièce qu'on puisse comparer à celle où Christophe Sly joue un rôle si comique et si vrai.

Nous ne citerons pas tous les auteurs de nouvelles, de ballades, etc., qui pourraient se disputer l'honneur d'avoir fourni cette idée à Shakspeare; l'un veut que ce soit à un conte oriental qu'il l'ait empruntée, et l'autre à une anecdote véritable racontée par Goulard dans son Thrésor d'histoires admirables et merveilleuses.

La pièce offre deux intrigues distinctes, mais liées et fondues ensemble avec beaucoup d'art, de manière à former un tout. L'amour de Lucentio et de Bianca se retrouve dans une comédie de l'Arioste, Gli Suppositi, traduite en anglais, en 1566, par Georges Gascoigne, et mise au théâtre la même année. Le jeune homme et son valet changent d'habits et de rôle pour supplanter un vieux rival, et emploient, comme Lucentio et Tranio, un étranger venu de Sienne, qu'ils déterminent à son déguisement de père, en lui faisant croire qu'il y va de la vie pour lui d'être reconnu à Ferrare. Le rôle brillant de la Méchante Femme est celui de Petruchio; nous ne pouvons nous empêcher de donner quelquefois tort à son obstination, à ses caprices bizarres et à l'extravagance qu'il affecte pour dompter la pauvre Catherine; car elle devient à la fin si malheureuse qu'on est tenté de la plaindre. En général, toutes les scènes entre elle et Petruchio sont divertissantes, et ne manquent pas de poésie, quoique les inventions de Petruchio aient quelquefois une espèce de grossièreté qui répugne à l'élégance de nos moeurs modernes. La Méchante Femme mise à la raison nous semble plutôt faite pour plaire aux maris du peuple qu'à ceux de la bonne compagnie.

La Méchante Femme mise à la raison (The Taming of the Shrew), fut imprimée pour la première fois dans la collection in-folio des pièces de Shakspeare en 1623. Dès 1594, on vendait à Londres un petit volume intitulé: A pleasant conceited Historie called the Taming of a Shrew. On pense généralement que cette comédie anonyme fut jouée avant the Taming of the Shrew de Shakspeare. Il y a entre les deux pièces bien plus qu'une analogie de titre. Malgré la supériorité de la seconde sur la première, on trouve entre elles de telles ressemblances que l'on est obligé de supposer, ou qu'elles sont toutes les deux de Shakspeare, ou qu'il s'est borné à remanier la comédie anonyme de 1594.

 PERSONNAGES

UN LORD}

CHRISTOPHE SLY, chaudronnier ivre    } Personnages

UNE HOTESSE, UN PAGE, COMÉDIENS      } du

et autres gens de la suite du lord.  } prologue.

BAPTISTA, riche gentilhomme de Padoue.

VINCENTIO, vieux gentilhomme de Pise.

LUCENTIO, fils de Vincentio, amoureux de Bianca.

PETRUCHIO, gentilhomme de Vérone faisant la cour à Catherine.

GREMIO,     } prétendants à la main

HORTENSIO,  } de Bianca.

TRANIO,     } domestiques de Lucentio.

BIONDELLO,  }

GRUMIO,     } domestiques de Petruchio.

CURTIS,     }

PÉDANT, vieux original déguisé pour contrefaire Vincentio.

CATHERINE la méchante femme,  } filles de Baptista.

BIANCA, sa soeur.             }

UNE VEUVE.

TAILLEUR, PETIT MERCIER, DOMESTIQUES DE BAPTISTA ET DE PETRUCHIO.

La scène est tantôt à Padoue, et tantôt dans la maison de campagne de Petruchio.

PROLOGUE

 SCÈNE I, La scène est devant un cabaret, sur une bruyère.

L'HOTESSE ET SLY.

 SLY.--Je vous donnerai une peignée[1], sur ma foi.

L'HOTESSE.--Une paire de menottes, coquin!

SLY.--Vous êtes une drôlesse: apprenez que les Sly ne sont pas des coquins; lisez plutôt les chroniques, nous sommes venus en Angleterre avec Richard le Conquérant. Ainsi, paucas pallabris[2], laissez glisser le monde sur ses roulettes. Sessa[3]!

[Note 1: I will pheese you, littéralement «Je vous peignerai;» expression populaire pour dire: je vous battrai.]

[Note 2: Pocas palabras, terme espagnol que Sly estropie, soyez bref.]

[Note 3: Sessa, mot espagnol: soyez tranquille.]

L'HOTESSE.--Comment! vous ne payerez pas les verres que vous avez cassés!

SLY.--Non pas un denier...--Par saint Jéronyme, va-t'en. Va te réchauffer dans ton lit froid[4].

L'HOTESSE.--Je sais un bon moyen; je vais quérir le quartenier[5].

SLY.--Quartenier ou tiercenier ou cintenier[6], peu m'importe; je saurai bien lui répondre en forme; je ne bougerai pas d'un pouce; mon enfant, allons; qu'il vienne et de la douceur.

[Note 4: Phrases ridicules d'une vieille pièce intitulée: Hieronymo, ou la tragédie espagnole, dont se moquaient souvent les poëtes du temps.]

[Note 5: Third borough. Officier qui a les mêmes fonctions que le constable, excepté dans les endroits où le constable existe; alors le third borough n'est que son coadjuteur.]

[Note 6: Third, or fourth, or fifth borough.]

(Il s'étend par terre et s'endort.)

(On entend des cors. Paraît un lord revenant de la chasse avec sa suite.)

LE LORD.--Piqueur, je te recommande d'avoir bien soin de mes chiens.--Braque Merriman!--le pauvre animal, il a toutes les articulations enflées! Accouple Clowder avec la braque à la large gueule. N'as-tu pas vu, mon garçon, comme Silver a bien relevé le défaut au coin de la haie? Je ne voudrais pas perdre ce chien pour vingt livres sterling.

PREMIER PIQUEUR.--Belman le vaut bien, milord: il aboyait sur la voie quand les autres avaient bel et bien perdu, et deux fois aujourd'hui il a retrouvé la piste la moins vive; croyez-moi, je le regarde comme le meilleur chien.

LE LORD.--Tu es un sot:

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Reviews

What people think about La Mechante Femme Mise a la Raison (The Taming of the Shrew in French)

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1426 ratings / 24 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (2/5)
    It's bawdy and crass; juvenile humor. I guess this explains why I enjoyed it in high school, but didn't enjoy it as much as an adult.
  • (5/5)
    This may be my favorite Shakespeare, but I haven't read them all yet. This is my favorite so far. I love the way the man keeps pushing in on Kate until she receives his love.
  • (5/5)
    My favorite Shakespeare comedy, and a personaly favorite in classical literature.
  • (3/5)
    A better play to see than read. There's room for a lot of physical comedy here, and I think it shows that WS was better at tragedy than broad farce. Still, it's noted as having been read four times. "Kiss Me, Kate!" is more fun.
  • (4/5)
    The introductory scenes with Sly were a surprise to me! I was also somewhat surprised by how much of the musical Kiss Me Kate is directly from the play.
  • (3/5)
    I bet every older sister secretly likes this play.
  • (3/5)
    Really funny. Although, yes, it is technically sexist. When I heard that last speech performed live, there was no real mutual respect it seemed, and maybe it was a little dull. But when the mutual respect is clear, you realize it isn't just Kate who has changed, but her husband as well. Thus it becomes clear that they respect each other, and truly, while it appears that she is 'beneath him' and always agreeing with everything he says, there is an air that she is only learning to not be contrary and she thus becomes able to be in a relationship, in a partnership.
  • (5/5)
    Enjoyable, funny and entertaining Bacon was a gifted writer.
  • (2/5)
    I had to read this one when I was in high school for an AP Lit course (man, I hated that course). Lit teachers have so many opportunities to choose some really amazing, relevant lit, and while I think Shakespeare is still relevant today, the way this book was taught was miserable. There were moments when the discussions in class were interesting, but it wasn't any thanks to the instructor or the play itself, I don't think. Of course, in high school fashion we watched the movie afterwards, and I found I enjoyed it better (and actually understood the play better, too). It was okay, but not one of my favorites among the Shakespeare pile of plays.
  • (4/5)
    As always, a great edition from the Arden publishers.
  • (5/5)
    Unlike any other Shakespeare's plays, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW has an induction, which lives up to its name in the sense that the prologue scene does indeed lead into the play that follows. It seems likely that Shakespeare had adopted the device from medieval narrative poetry, where it was extensively used to introduce a story in the form of a dream. In the induction, far more is involved than the mere setting of a scene and the informing to audience. In fact, Christopher Sly seems to have lapse into a dream as he is forced to adopt a new identity. The brief yet vigorous altercation between Sly and the hostess with which the induction begins is a curtain raiser for the dramatic struggle between Petruchio and Katherina that is to follow. Equally as significant is the Lord's instructions to his servant-boy as to the behavior he is to assume when he appears disguised as Sly's wife forebode the main theme of the play. THE TAMING OF THE SHREW has a powerful appeal for the Elizabethan audience at the time it opened because the struggle for mastery in a marriage remained a fact of existence and hot topics for writers. A true-to-life domestic scene opens the play and instantly grasps attention: Signor Baptista forbids all suitors to court his younger daughter Bianca until he finds a husband for the ill-tempered, difficult, and waspish elder daughter Katherina. She is notorious for her hot temper, foul tongue, and caprice. Out of jealousy and the qualm not remaining single, she often vents out her anger on her sister. Suitors of the younger sister, who decide to put aside their rivalry, contrive to find a match for Katherina. Gremio and Hortensio bear the cost of Petruchio's courting Katherina while Lucentio, who is madly in love with Bianca, and his crafty servant Tranio cunningly switch role to infiltrate the Baptista house. What inevitably follows is a facetious pursuit of love and a farcical melodrama that culminate in a riotously funny final scene in which Lucentio's real father, who has no clue of his son's betrothal, confronts the pedant-disguised impostor who reverse-accuses him of a charlatan. Equally as clueless of the entire crafty scheme is Baptista whom the suitors have tricked and outmaneuvered. He is consistently mistaken about everything and everybody, so that he does not even understand why Bianca later asks for his forgiveness. He and Vincentio are merely the butts for all the intrigues that go on throughout the play. THE TAMING OF THE SHREW maintains an irresistible appeal among the comedies owing to the intriguing trickery with which characters rival for courtship. Just as suspenseful and entertaining is Petruchio's calculated, punctilious campaign to tame his wife. His line of attack is psychological, although persuasive words carefully planned for each step accompany his actions. He somehow outsmarts his wife and deliberately outdoes her in his perversity and bad temper. The quintessential spleen of tantrum flourishes in the scenes in which Petruchio abuses his servants and tailor. His being abusive, tyrannical, violent, and capricious functions more than a reflection - it is evident of a caricature of Katherina through an exaggerated parody of her wild behavior. His evaluation of her mind is confirmed by her softening and surrender for she welcomes the opportunity of meeting an antagonist who will put up a good fight. THE TAMING OF THE SHREW is highly rhetorical (even more so than AS YOU LIKE IT). Whether it is Petruchio's aggressive, vituperative taming or the milder courting of Bianca, the play never lacks an elite style with which Shakespeare exploited language to a linguistic virtuosity. For example, Petruchio's taming distinguishes from the usual method that might involve violence. What differentiate his campaign are the subtlety, the sophistication, and the ingenuity of his conceiving of Katherina's mind. His perspicacious mind justifies the use of highly rhetorical, puny, and literary discourse that somehow alienates the ordinary speech in the play and paradoxically brings in a fuller, more intimate possession of his witty scheme.
  • (4/5)
    I read this play when I was in the sixth grade and at that time I did not completely understand the meaning of "male ego" or "abusive relationships". As the message hidden in this play depicts that women of those times had to succumb dutifully to their "chauvinist" husbands, years later I came to realize how the society of that era looked down upon the uprising and independent women of all times.

    While the reason for this play may or may not have been to contemplate women rights and gender equality, nothing makes it anything less than an excellent read, perhaps a minute literary classic in my say!

    First of all, notoriously famous for the dark comedy, this play in my opinion is the best Shakespearean Comedy. The play consisting of extremely comical, vivid and humorous energetic ploys never offered me a chance to put it down and stop reading.

    From the beginning of the play the readers get an entertaining idea of how terrifying a shrew, the leading character Kate is because of her amusingly foul mouth and vicious temper. Pair that with an equally determined and witty leading male character, Petruchio, who employs comical methods to shape Kate, and you get a splendid comedy. The play proceeds with an interesting insight into how Kate gradually evolves into his devoted wife and a polite woman.

    The characters and their dialogues fashion the utmost wit and brilliant excitement all through out the play. Every scene is composed of numerous hilarious and amusing acts that just grip the readers to continue being indulged in the entertaining story.

    The play also stands out because of its unique structure. Most Shakespearean plays comprise of romance, banishment, and disguise as a key theme to the plot.
    For instance, one never fails to identify the certain styles of Shakespeare; namely one method would be: Male characters in the beginning disguise themselves and they fall for the wrong women who were also disguised. However, everyone reconcile with their true one in the end after a series of farce incidents.
    Another signature style would be: Groups of high ranked men and their king are banished to the forsaken islands or forests by a nemesis. Then the noble men and their king would regain power and get invited back in the end by the strange love marriage between the children of the king and his nemesis!

    To a great relief this play consisted of none of those techniques which therefore was a remarkably fresh way of journeying through a wonderful Shakespeare comedy.
  • (2/5)
    Read this twice, once for high school and once for college, and both times I despised it. I don't remember why, but I think it was some feminist outrage that I had...
  • (5/5)
    I recently read this in my tenth grade English class. Of course, the play itself was at it always is: hilarious and incredible. Every time I read something by Shakespeare, I marvel at his creativity, originality, and skill for crafting puns and witty wordplay.The version of this book that I read included many other sections relating to Shakespeare's works: his life, his writings, and how his plays were shown, plus a section entitled "A Modern Perspective," which was somewhat of an overview of the themes in the play and revealed many things people in my English class missed while reading the text (not that they actually looked at the extra stuff: that's like watching Lord of the Rings without the bonus footage). I found all of the extra details quite interesting and it gave me enough background to participate fully in class discussions where most of my peers were left behind. Thank you, Folger Library!
  • (4/5)
    This is a clever play. However, it revolves massively around the directors interpretation of Bianca (sweet and innocent, or scheming and bitchy) and more importantly on the dynamic between Petruchio and Katherine (does he break her, or does she finally understand him and willing go along with it). I really wanted it to be the later but, as a feminist, I couldn't understand how a free minded woman would say the things said in Kate's last speech.And one MAJOR nit pick; where did Sly go? He's there at the beginning, but not anywhere else.
  • (5/5)
    My second review (check out my review of The Count of Monte Cristo) and this book is an amazing play. I had to read this for school and I thought this was going to be boring and non-entertaining but, to my surprise, It is hilarious! This book is a clever comedy in which Shakespeare shows two very different sisters and a plot so complex and difficult It is interesting. Some people may think Shakespeare is dull and I can see why but, this is a book i recommend from middle school to the rest of your life. You see Bianca (the innocent, boy fanatic girl who is very vain) and Kate (a feminist who is more reserved to herself and never wants to marry). Kate is very strong and has her dignity. This play is a page turner for sure. I have also seen the movie and the TV series (now gone) and none of them compare to the humorous English vernacular of Shakespeare. (Even though Elizabeth Taylor plays one hell of a Kate!)- Paulina
  • (2/5)
    I'm sure we could argue the feminist interpretation for ages, but though full of Shakespeare's usual wit I couldn't figure out what he was going for here and it ended up just being a frustrating read.
  • (5/5)
    This is honestly mu favorite work by Shakespeare. I love the humor within it. I have read this for classes I have performed Katherine's final Monologue. I know people find that this plays has become a past idea of thinking of how women should behave since we are in a modern day world that that works for men and women to be equal without bowing down. However, at the time this play was written, that was not yet the thinking. No matter what, this is and always will be a favorite of mine.
  • (2/5)
    I had to give it a second star because some of the jokes were funny but really, this is just horrible. I'm not saying it should never be performed because it's a part of our cultural heritage and significant for influencing a lot of later works but I really think it's unsuitable for casual performance, for entertainment of general audiences. I saw it performed at a summer park show and Petruccio's player kept stopping to apologize out of character because the audience was booing him so loudly.
  • (3/5)
    What can I say...I love Shakespeare's poetic language, wit and his insight into the human condition. But, I must be honest and tell you that I had to force myself to finish this book because I'm an independent, liberated, modern woman and I don't think there's anything funny about the way Pet. mentally abused Kate. Here we have a lying rouge who is cast as a hero as he uses psychological war-fare, humiliation and starvation to bend the will of a wealthy woman, just to get her money. This is the kind of thing we read about in the news; some wealthy woman being taken-in by a playboy that she met on an internet dating site. It wasn't funny back in the day and it isn't funny now.Good thing he didn't try that with Lorena Bobbitt...SMILE!!!
  • (3/5)
    Lluchthartige komedie. Over hoe de hevige Katherine trouwt met Petruccio en daardoor haar plaats in de maatschappij vindt waardoor haar rebels karakter “getemd” wordt; verschillende verhaallijnen, nogal rommelig, met typische rolomkeringen; thema van de ideale vrouw, nogal dubieus aangebracht. -brutaal optreden om Katherine te breken-vaders die hun dochters als koopwaar verhandelen-betekenis van de inleiding is duister-onverklaarbare wendingenUiteenlopende interpretaties over het optreden van Petruccio. Die gedraagt zich brutaal om Katherine uit evenwicht te brengen (“being mad herself, she is madly mated”), in act IV.1 licht hij zijn motieven toe. Bekende slotscène: uitval Katherine tegen ongehoorzame vrouwen (niet duidelijk wat het doel is): “Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper/Thy head, thy sovereign”
  • (2/5)
    What an odd, misogynistic play. Most interesting was the induction with Christopher Sly, a drunkard who is tricked into believing he is a rich lord. This plot line, included to set up the whole identity switch storyline, is never resolved in my text. I know Shakespeare is considered a master playwright of the English language and I do truly appreciate his work, but isn't he a bit unoriginal at times? There's the whole "borrowing" stories from other authors and then the fact that many of his stories feature the same motifs--funny servants, identity mixups, instalove followed by marriages, rich Italians in search of dowries and hot wives, mean fathers. I guess the Elizabethan theatre-going crowd had a specific niche, and Shakespeare knew how to work within it. Which, if you think about it, isn't that different from our generation being obsessed with vampires and paranormal romances. In 5 centuries, will our descendants look back at our reading tastes and wonder why it all seems the same?
  • (4/5)
    It sounds like an extreme and ludicrous statement, but I don't actually know that Shakespeare has a more interpretable play. It all comes down to that moment at the end: Katherine's gonna come out and deliver her closing speech (and for those who still somehow see this as straight-up misogyny, consider all the past versions that haven't done so, and that the ultimate power of meaningmaking is here in Kate's hands--okay, and those of her director--which is easy enough to see as a definitive repudiation of Petruchio's efforts to take away her reality and signifying power with all the no-no-the-sun-is-the-moon stuff earlier). And I mean, relations between the sexes? A friend of mine says about class relations (which are also, naturally, at play here, and what is Kate from one perspective but another tinker, an overturner of the social order? A hero?), he says, "of course it's complicated, it's a gas, baby, you dig?" You can play the speech totally straight--but even then, like, what does Shakespeare think about it? Has Kate found strong manlove or been broken by a sadist?--and you can play it ironically, in about a billion permutations.So well done, Shakespeare. (You're suuuuuch a good writer. I'm sooooo impressed.) But here's what came to me watching this guy the other day at Bard on the Beach, not about that director's interpretation--which was basically "two stong-willed eccentrics find each other, embrace, and turn their rapier tongues on the rest of the world"--not about any interpretation at all, but about what the last scene says about real life. Because you can have your single simple reading of a play if you wanna and walk away and not have any problems come of it, but when you do that with real life there's that certain excess that'll always trip you up and mug you and leave you unsure where it all went wrong.So what came out at me was the way both things are true. Petruchio can king-of-the-castle Katherine around all he wants and it will always be repulsive, to our sensibilities as well as (it has been convincingly argued) those of the Elizabethans. That doesn't mean it's the whole story here. In that final scene, when Kate is the only obedient wife, what we see is a dark shadow over the future of these marriages--and leaving aside for the moment whether that includes Kate and Petruchio's and what the implications of that are, think about the others. Lucentio's marriage to Bianca and Hortensio's to the Widow may be under threat because the wives are not obedient--or maybe they're just gonna make their husbands into buffoons and that's in the normal way of things--but what is it that makes either of those eventualities a problem? It's that they're weaklings. And calling them out on that doesn't make Petruchio any less of a bully. But forget the bully thing for a second: he's also a man who knows what he wants and won't settle for any less. And in this milieu, Katherine doesn't have the same privilege--she has to be a shrew or a possession. But are the other wives much happier with their carping men? Not at all. The men still have all the power on paper, but their sense of manhood depends on a submission they're not going to be able to secure.And I hope we've left all the submission stuff behind. What we need in our relationships is to be responsible for ourselves. Kate's paradox is that in submitting completely to her husband she has total freedom to move--he kisses her hand rather than step on it. It's repulsive. But they're strong people who (perhaps? depending on your interpretation?) respect each other. And I think there's something to be said for a partner who just rides out your storms, who has themself enough in hand to make their expectations clear (thankfully, today this is a mutual process). And I have spent a lot of time trying to please people I was with and needing to protect them to feel okay myself, and that that's emotional brinksmanship and will never actually help them feel better, and then I'll feel distress too. The great thing about The Taming of the Shrew is to see a marriage without any tally of needs and catalogue of fears and litany of resentments and haunting cloud of failures--where whatever anyone does it'll be laughed off in the end. The question it leaves me with is whether the only way to have that is for marriage to be something even worse--a chattel relationship instead of one between messy, needy, hypersensitive equals.
  • (3/5)
    Well, Toto, we're a long way from Beatrice and Benedick here, that's for sure! This is among the plays that are Much better watched than read, if only because directors and actors can make subtle adaptations and add nuance to situations and characters who are, as written, fairly brutal and unattractive. Done “right,” this is a very entertaining play – I particularly enjoyed the BBC's “Shakespeare Retold” version, starring Shirley Henderson and Rufus Sewell. As with “Much Ado About Nothing,” though, “The Taming of the Shrew” features one interesting couple and one dull one. Bianca and her swain actually spend very little time together, but it's plenty. Katherine and Petruchio may or may not be suited to each other, but we'll never know because Petruchio has all the power and no qualms about using it. What “saves” the play is Katherine's own sheer nastiness, as evidenced by her unwarranted brutality to both her sister and her tutor. She's been bullying her family and servants, so we don't feel terribly sorry for her when she receives the same treatment from her new husband. The clowns in “Shrew” are irritating rather than witty, and the framing device adds little. Still, it's Shakespeare, and there are some clever wordplays, images, and amusing bits of dialog. And Katherine and Petruchio do seem to have arranged an amicable detente by the end, where we can feasibly imagine them going along for several years before one of them murders the other.