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Lecture 4 The Taming of the
Act 1, Scene 2
Lecture Focus
 Sources of Conflict in Drama, Women in Literature,
and Shrew
Additional background critical considerations in
relation to Act 1, and Plot
Highlights of Act 1, Scene 2,
Dramatic presentation of character
The threefold Structure: Induction; Main Plot; and
Dramatic Techniques
Dramatic Effects
Theme of Appearance and Reality
Think of sources of Conflict?
Money; property;
Women, especially young, beautiful women;
Love; eros; romance; sexual desire;
Other men; especially men of wealth, power, and
influence; ambition; competition
Masculine Power, and power disputes;
Male-Female rivalry; The battle of the sexes; and
how women contest male power, domination and
control [Paper 5 Concerns]
Conflict arising from ourselves; inner conflict
Conflict between Appearance and Reality; Disguise
Women in Literature / Drama
 How female experience is portrayed in
Literature? Dramatized in Drama?
 How is female experience portrayed in
Shakespeare? More particularly in Shrew?
 Was Shakespeare a chauvinist? Sexist?
 Shakespeare put language into the mouths of
many of his male characters that nowadays
appears sexist, given its uncomplimentary
references to women;
Consider Petruchio’s ‘chattel’ speech
 Petruchio speaks of his wife, Kate:
‘She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,
My house-hold stuff, my field, my barn,
My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything.’ [Act 3, Sc 2]
 Students need to balance such evidence against
Shakespeare’s portrayal of his female characters;
 Explore different ways of speaking Petruchio’s lines;
 Critically consider how serious is he? Or is it all
intended not to be taken seriously? As a joke?
 Is this one of Petruchio’s disguises?
What of other women characters
in Shakespeare?
 Shakespeare’s plays are filled with
resourceful, self-confident women
 Who create their own space, and achieve or
represent a spirited independence;
 Lady Macbeth, Gonerill and Regan;
Cleopatra; Beatrice; and Katherina
 Some feminist literary critics interpret his
plays as sympathetic to feminism;
 Others see Shakespeare as supportive of
patriarchy. (Through reasoned argument)
Patriarchy, Eros and Sexuality
 Just as sexuality has always been
constituted within the parameters of a male
bodily order
 So the feminine and eros have been
constituted within a masculine economy of
pleasure and power;
 A culture where men govern the nature of all
erotic, amorous, and sexual experience;
 Consider these perspectives in relation to
your Paper 5 concerns in your set texts.
 Many of Shakespeare’s plays concern
themselves with the nature of women, their
position / place in society and their treatment;
 In The Taming of the Shrew, Katherina has to
be ‘taught’ obedience before she can be
deemed suitable to become a wife in
 Marriage is seen as the foundation of a happy
and orderly life.
 Gentle
 Rough
 Good
 Impatient
 Sweet
 Disobedient
 Obedient
 Bad-tempered
 Respectful
 Rebellious
 Silent; mild
 Violent
 ‘Beauteous modesty’
 ‘Scolding tongue’
Recalling Kate’s first speech [Sc 1]
 It is vulgar, and thick-sown with proverbs;
 She threatens to ‘comb’ her suitor’s ‘noddles’
with a three-legged stool;
 It is all very scolding and violent
 And appropriately expressed in a low style
(as opposed to a high style)
 Her choice and form of more vulgar language
reinforces this shrewish impression of her
Exposition (Delay and Integration)
 The title creates an expectation of conflict between a
man and his wife
Induction presents us immediately with a dispute
between the Hostess and a Beggar (Tinker)
Followed by a long episode in which a Lord and his
train plan to deceive the sleeping Beggar that he too
is a lord;
This is interrupted by the arrival of the actors, after
which the Lord’s plot is seen in operation,
With Sly deceived for over a hundred lines until the
actors come to perform their comedy;
 The play-within-the-play then begins with the
 with Lucentio, along with his servant Tranio,
arriving in Padua to pursue a course of study
 and then meeting Baptista, his daughters and
their suitors;
 Up to this point in the play there has been no
hint of a shrew
Main Plot and Sub-Plot
 At Act 1, Scene 1, 48
 The main plot and sub-plot are linked by
Baptista’s initial announcement:
‘Gentlemen, importune me no further,
For how I firmly am resolv’d you know;
That is, not to bestow my youngest daughter
Before I have a husband for the elder.’
 It is from this decision of Baptista that all the intrigue
of the sub-plot flows with Hortensio, Lucentio and
Gremio, pursuing their various schemes to win over
The contest for Bianca is also a parallel to and a
reversal of the contest between Petruchio and
In both plots, courtship is seen as a struggle, a
Shakespeare signals this by the way in which after
Act 1, Scene 1, the plots interweave.
The two plots are reversals of each other.
Moving on to Scene 2 of Act 1
 Petruchio comes to Padua in search of a rich
 He is introduced in a low comedy style with
his servant, Grumio
 With great flourish, he proclaims his intention
to marry for money; (Marriage as a market)
 He agrees to court Katherina
 Action initially takes place outside Hortensio’s
Lazzi, and Dramatic, Comic Effects
 Petruchio is introduced in a low comedy turn
with his servant Grumio
 Commedia depended for most of its
comic effects on gags known as lazzi,
largely surplus to the actual plot
 In this scene, there is the classic ‘Knock me
here’ gag, which depends on Grumio not
understanding a clear instruction he must
realistically have heard many times before
 The upshot of this failure of understanding on
Grumio’s part
 The stage direction directing Petruchio:
< He wrings him by the ears >
 Once again the servant is abused
 Does this action have thematic relevance?
 It signals to the audience Petruchio’s potential
for physical violence;
 NOTE: Actors and directors have to choose
how comically these scenes are performed
Plot Contrast in Characterization
 Lucentio’s rapturous passion in Act 1, Scene
1 is contrasted not only with Petruchio’s
realistic and pragmatic declaration
 ‘I come to wive it wealthily in Padua’
 Watch out for these contrasts re- both plots;
 As they comment ironically on each other;
 Critically explore direct comparisons and
contrasts between Petruchio and Lucentio as
the principal wooers
 Petruchio is superficially direct, simple,
overbearing, and businesslike;
Do you agree?
 Lucentio is lovesick, yet devious; Yes or No?
Why say he is devious?
Any supporting textual evidence?
 Recall he employs Tranio to adopt a disguise
in order to do all his real work for him
Petruchio [lines 62-73] Effects?
[Signor Hortensio, ’twixt such friends as we
Few words suffice, and therefore, if thou know
One rich enough to be Petruchio’s wife—
As wealth is burden of my wooing dance—
Be she as foul as was Florentius’ love,
As old as Sibyl, and as curst and shrewd
As Socrates’ Xanthippe or a worse,
She moves me not, or not removes at least
Affection’s edge in me, were she as rough
As are the swelling Adriatic seas.]
[I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
If wealthily, then happily in Padua.]
Dramatic Techniques?
 Modulation of stress patterning to produce
particular effects;
 Altering line length, and inserting pauses;
 Interplay between lines, and sentences
 Enjambment, and End-stopping
 Rhetorical figures of speech (techniques of
persuasive language);
 E.g. Anaphora and Hyperbole
 Metaphorical techniques; Imagery
Effects? Show how they are achieved?
 Conveys a sense that he an invincible, unstoppable
force; nothing stands in his way; No nonsense;
A man to be reckoned with; we are impressed
A typical audience will react with amused admiration
for his egotistic, bravado, macho spirit and energy;
Comic effects arise from the inflated and exaggerated
rhetoric; (very masculine, muscular discourse)
It will arouse suspense as the audience awaits in
eager anticipation of an encounter between the so
called Shrew of Padua, and this newcomer, Petruchio
For further dramatic effects
 Compare and contrast characterization and
events in the sub-plot with that of main plot
 Contrast Petruchio’s speech with Lucentio
earlier on in Scene 1 of Act 1 —
 ‘I burn, I pine, I perish…/ Counsel me, Tranio
/ Assist me, Tranio…’
 Note the dependence on his servant!
Effects arising from the Induction
 In the Induction, there are portrayals of a Lord
and his huntsmen; First Huntsman and
Second Huntsman, and references to aspects
and elements of hunting,
‘Dost thou love hawking? / Or wilt thou hunt? /
Say thou will course, thy greyhounds…’
 There is a sense in Petruchio’s speech of the
metaphor of the hunt; of hunting;
Petruchio as a fortune-hunter
Towards end of Act 1, Scene 2
 By the end of this scene Petruchio is already
thinking and talking about Katherina as if she
were his possession already:
‘Sir, sir, the first is for me; let her go by.’
 Effect? (dramatic / theatrical)
 We can see how determined and decisive he
is in his pursuit; in his fortune-hunting!
Conflict: Appearances and Reality
 The Induction compels us to question the boundaries
between appearance and reality; So what’s real?
Thus warning the audience of the ambiguity of belief;
And in doing so, it foreshadows the use of disguises
and performances in the sub-plot, and main plot;
Creating much dramatic irony in the play;
But does Petruchio disguise himself?
Is he not more upfront, more direct about his motives
and intentions, even with Kate?
But then is not Petruchio an actor? Does he not set
out to act and play different parts, adopting different
personas? Is he not putting on a false front?
So how is Kate to gauge him? And the audience?