Tag Archives: Infographic

Infographic- Taming of the Shrew

  • Within the play of The Taming of the Shrew, the word ‘curst’ is usually used as an adjective to mock and make fun of another person. In most cases within The Shrew, the word curst refers to Katherine Minola and her uncharacteristically unfeminine personality. The men, including Horensio and Gremio, who are looking for a woman with more socially acceptable behaviors, call Katherine a “curst” woman because they do not how outspoken and “ill-tempered” she is. The word curst was first seen in text around approximately 1300 AD. It seems that the word was derived from the word accursed (also spelled accurst), which was used even earlier around 1225AD. Accurst means “That has been cursed; lying under a curse; doomed to perdition or misery” as well as “Worthy of being cursed; damnable, detestable, hateful.” By the time Shakespeare used the word in his texts, curst and accurst had two very different usages. Around the time of the penmanship of The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare utilizes the definition “Of persons (or their dispositions, tongues, etc.): Malignant; perversely disagreeable or cross; cantankerous, shrewish, virulent. Obs. or arch. (also dial.)” as an adjective to describe both people and situations which are less than agreeable.
  • This connotation also seems to stem from the word cur, a name for “a dog: now always depreciative or contemptuous; a worthless, low-bred, or snappish dog”, but also used “as a term of contempt: a surly, ill-bred, low, or cowardly fellow”. Shakespeare even uses this definition in Midsummer Night’s Dream. This analogy between a “scoundrel” or “ill-bred” person and an animal acts as a comparison between bad behaviors and bestial or uncivilized living.
  • In Richard II, the usage of ‘curst’ has a similar connotation to how it is used in Taming of the Shrew. He uses curst as a way to describe a negative situation or person, while utilizing accurst to describe an actual “cursed” person, event, or object. The word ‘cursed’ is found approximately 30 times in plays such as Taming of the Shrew, Henry VI, King Lear, Midsummer Nights Dream, and Much Ado about Nothing, among others. The word ‘accurst’ is seen generally much less in the plays Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Two Gentleman of Verona, as well as Venus and Adonis.
  • This difference in connotation between the two words shows a difference in plot and context of each of Shakespeare’s plays. The word ‘curst’ shows up more often in plays with humor and wit, since it is used as a derogatory term. The word ‘accurst’ is used as an actual explanation for negative situations, and thus is found in more serious, problematic plays.
  • As I traversed Shakespeare’s works to find examples of the usage of ‘curst’, I noticed that the term was utilized in a defamatory way for women in more than just The Shrew. I also found examples of this same word choice in Love’s Labour’s Lost, where Boyet says “Do not curst wives hold that self-sovereignty…” and Much Ado about Nothing, when Antonio states “In faith, she’s too curst”. Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, and Two Gentleman of Verona all also have similar indications of using ‘curst’ to describe women, pointing to the argument that during Shakespeare’s time, it may have been regularly utilized to describe negative traits within women that did not subscribe to traditional societal values. By comparing women to animals, Shakespeare makes the claim that women must be tamed and civilized to live with man; they are ‘beneath’ man. This ideology lines up with thinking from Shakespeare’s time- similarly to animals, women are owned and act as companion-servants to men, instead of being independent humans with a personal will.
  • Because Petruccio and other characters adopt the use of ‘curst’ as an epithet for Katherine, elevating the word above a basic description. This points to the idea that Katherine’s identity is dominated strictly by her behavior (or in this case, her lack of proper, expected behavior). She is degraded to a level of baseness that does not include her desires and personality, and is only valued based on how useful she is to the men in her life.

Works Cited:

“Accursed.” N.d. Oxford English Dictionary Online [Oxford UP]. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

“Cursed.” N.d. Oxford English Dictionary Online [Oxford UP]. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

“Cur”. N.d. Oxford English Dictionary Online [Oxford UP]. Web. 8 Oct. 2015

Shakespeare, William, and Barbara Hodgdon. The Taming of the Shrew. 3rd ed. London:    Arden Shakespeare, 2010. Print.

Language Games. 1 Oct.



Good work on Tuesday! We provided some fresh answers to questions Shrew provokes. We used Stephen Greenblatt’s famous concept, Renaissance self-fashioning, as ground on which to assess the relative liberty of characters in Shrew.

To review, Greenblatt argues his term self-fashioning “describes the practice of parents and teachers; it is linked to manner or demeanor, particularly that of the elite; it may suggest hypocrisy or deception of one’s nature or intention in speech or action…It invariably crosses the boundaries between the creation of literary characters, the shaping of one’s own identity, the experience of being molded by forces outside one’s control, and the attempt to fashion other selves” (3).

We got at how Shrew exemplifies the irony at the center of self-fashioning. For example, Lucentio & Hortentio have to give up their identities to find them, and Petruccio’s exaggerated individualism depends on a huge cluster of old clothes, broken weapons, a dying horse, and the microorganisms that infect it. Both Kelsey and Isabelle pointed out that “hearsay” in act 3 contributes to play’s investment in staging ways social expectations, (expressed through gossip?), shapes the identity of the characters. I suggest Katherine’s and Bianca’s language games (wooing scene 2.1 & Latin/Music lesson 3.1) offer an alternative to the orthodoxy of the gossips because the literally challenge the coherence of the structure of the system. As Bruce Smith explains the ladies’ play with language,

“upsets the concords of words by seizing the masculine hic and eschewing the feminine haec. Also at issues in their actions is a disruption in the governing of words, whereby the stronger controls the weaker, as, for example, the noun controlling the verb; the substantive, the adjective; the antecedent the relative pronoun. When Bianca takes over Lucentio’s Latin verse and turns it to her own ends, the verb governs the noun; the adjective, the substantive; the pronoun the antecedent. All preposterous. ‘Take heed he hear us not,’ ‘presume not,’ ‘despair not’: In the three commands that conclude her construal, Bianca turns the usually governing masculine ‘I’ into the acted-on ‘you.’” (348).

For Further Consideration
For your consideration: Per Madison’s provocative reading, is Katherine a virgin? Is Bianca?; Is the play pedagogical?; and what time is it?

Part I. Questions?

Read Katherine’s Final Speech (5.2.142-184) and complete the following tasks:
For 5 minutes write as many questions about the speech as you can. Then take 5 more minutes and answer 2-3 of the questions you generated.

Part II.Assessment

(Collaboratively Generated Assessment Criteria for Visual Rendering Assignment)

We are going to generate the criteria I use to assess the final drafts of your Visual Renderings as a group. In order to generate the assessment criteria, please complete the steps below:

Tame: Wild to Domestic

Katherine and Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew


The context of the word tame in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew gives the word the meaning of transforming something that was once wild to something domestic, acceptable, docile, and useful to society and man. In one striking definition I saw that a few centuries before and during the play’s inception that the term tame was rarely applied to people. This along with the use of shrew when referring to Katherine gives the readers a distinct feel that Katherine is not seen as entirely human to some of the play’s character, and is considered lower than most men.

taming of the shrew


Etymology.Sept 22.

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 6.38.28 PM


We talked about how Shrew is a play deeply interested in the relative status of evidence. In other words, what sorts of evidence are most persuasive, or, even more specifically, is visual, verbal, or aural rhetoric more likely to persuade a person of the truth? Why the emphasis on visual evidence/rhetoric in this play? How does the “Induction” fit with the rest of the play? We talked about Textual Criticism, and ways in editorial practices have different relationship between claims and evidence than Literary Criticism (i.e. close reading & argument driven analysis). We talked about evidence and types of appeals or modes of writing in terms of the assignment Visual Rendering Assignment which is due Sept 29.

Calendar Updates

Blog Post 2, now due Tuesday, Oct 6.

Take minute and answer the following:
Is Katherine a shrew, why? And…so what?

Part I. “Companion Species: Entangling Dogs, Baboons, Philosophers, and Biologists”

Please get into the groups that follow, introduce yourselves to your peers, and then respond to the prompts below. Write down as much as you will need to participate in discussion and be prepared to cite specific instances from the text.

  1. Ainee, Hannah M., Nicholas, & Robert
  2. Alexandra, Jeffery, Danny, & Angeline
  3. Kelsey, Beau, Caroline, Chan, & Thomas
  4. June, Sun, Isabelle, Patrick, Shamala, & Bailey
  5. Kira, Sarah, Madison, Tony, & Hannah P.
  • What does Haraway mean by “companion species”? What steps does she take to define her terms? (i.e. what strategies doe she use to define the terms?) 
  • What does the term “Companion Species” give her that other terms, such as Posthumanism, cannot (102)? Why? 
  • According to Haraway, What “obligation” did Derrida fail to meet with his cat? What kept him from answering the cat’s invitation (103)? What does she suggest What should he (or really ‘we’) have done differently?
For your consideration…

Part II. Key Word Search

Please complete the following tasks. Be prepared to cite evidence from the text to support your findings during discussion:

  • Choose a key term from Taming of the Shrew & briefly describe or make note of the passage in which you found it
  • Look up your word in the OED
  • Look up your word in Open Source Shakespeare
  • Draw some conclusions about your findings



Induction. Sept 17



Prospero’s Project: On Tuesday we attempted to defines Prospero’s “project” as the revenge he may, or may, not exact on Antonio and/or Alonso. Early modern revenge drama (or plotlines in the case of The Tempest) generally feature a wronged man, who enacts retributive “justice.” That is, the revenger is only satisfied when the person who wronged him has suffered in the exact same way he was made to suffer.  Is revenge was moral? Argued Miranda was the most sympathetic character in the play, and wondered if Prospero’s moral authority was undermined by his inability to read or recognize an affinity between his own suffering and the suffering he inflicts upon Caliban?

What are some other ways to define Prospero’s “project”?

Theater History: Also wanted to emphasize that the London in which plays like The Tempest were played, was filled with theaters and performances of all types. And while Shakespeare has had a pronounced effect on the subsequent generations, in large part due to his editors, he was part of a thriving scene and produced his work in collaboration with other writers, actors, and theater impresarios.

Textual Scholarship

Term Definition
Crux Crux (Latin for “cross”, “gallow”, or “t-shape”) is a term applied by palaeographers, textual critics, bibliographers, and literary scholars to a point of significant corruption in a literary text. More serious than a simple slip of the pen or typographical error, a crux (probably deriving from Latin crux interpretum = “crossroad of interpreters”) is difficult or impossible to interpret and resolve. Cruxes occur in a wide range of pre-modern (ancient, medieval, and Renaissance) texts, printed and manuscript.

Consider the following unresolvable crux:

Ferdinand responds to the Prospero’s truncated masque by saying,

Le me live here ever;

So rare a wondered father and wise

Makes this place a paradise. (4.1.123-25)

The crux is contained in the word wise, or is it wife? What are some options for resolving this problem? 

The Oxford editors choose ‘wise’ and MIT Open Source chooses ‘wife.’ The crux hinges on the representation of the terminal, or descending ‘s,’ which, in the first Folio, looks more like ‘f’ than usual.

So what makes the island a paradise for Ferdinand? Is it Prospero or Miranda? There is no answer that accommodates both–If editors or actors choose ‘wife’ they exclude the father & if editors or actors choose ‘wise’ they exclude the wife. The term excluded in the judgement, sort of haunts the decision b/c cannot have a daughter without a father and vice versa. 

Though the crux cannot be resolved–a judgement always has to be made–editors can interrupt the reading process by calling attention to the apparatus itself, i.e. glossing the line and reminding the reader what types of technology render the double reading.

Taming of the Shrew

How does the RSC poster below attempt to resolve the problem of the two texts of Taming of the Shrew?


Shrew Induction I & II

What does the Lord mean when he says, “Sirs, I will practice on this man” (Induction 1.35) and why?

Compare the Lord’s treatment of Sly to his treatment of the dogs.

Who does the Lord get to the play Sly’s “humble wife” (Induction I.115) & what instructions does the Lord tell his servant to pass along to Bartholomew?

What sorts of evidence do the Lord and his servants offer to Sly to persuade him that he is actually “a mighty man of much descent” (II.13)?

Visual Rendering

  • Go to
    Open Anatomy of Social Scene and read through Read through the infographics “Death and Dying in Macbeth and Hamlet”; “Shakespeare’s Game of the Hollow Crown” & “Shakespeare’s Enchanted Forest”
  • As you read, consider some of the following questions:
    Who is the author? Who is the intended audience?
    Of what is the author trying to persuade the reader? Is the author successful?
    How does the author balance text and image? How does design effect meaning?
    How do infographics compare to argumentation? Is one more persuasive than the other? Why or why not?