Tag Archives: Taming of the Shrew

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.

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

 

Blog Post 2- Taming of the Shrew

The word ‘curst’ within Shakespeare’s canon

  • 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 1225 AD. 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.
  • Within most of Shakespeare’s plays, with the exception of 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 ‘curst’ 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.

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.

“Open Source Shakespeare: Search Shakespeare’s Works, Read the Texts.” Open Source Shakespeare: Search Shakespeare’s Works, Read the Texts. George Mason University, 2003. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

RQ: Shrew Acts 3, 4, & 5

DTR114681 The Wedding Dance, c.1566 (oil on panel) by Bruegel, Pieter the Elder (c.1525-69); 119.3x157.4 cm; Detroit Institute of Arts, USA; City of Detroit Purchase; PERMISSION REQUIRED FOR NON EDITORIAL USAGE; Flemish,  out of copyright

PLEASE NOTE: The Bridgeman Art Library works with the owner of this image to clear permission. If you wish to reproduce this image, please inform us so we can clear permission for you.

Directions

Keep the following questions in mind as you read Acts 3-5 of The Taming of the Shrew. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

Act 3

What purpose does education serve throughout the play?

Are the parts the characters play in Shrew, i.e. husband, daughter, servant, Lord, etc., inherited or learned?

What does Lucentio mean when he calls Hortensio a “Preposterous ass” (3.1.9)? Does this epithet describe other characters? Which ones & why?

What does Lucentio translate and how does Bianca repeat the translation?

What sort of student is Bianca? Is she different than you expected? How does she transform her suitors?

Why the contraction of sex and syntax in Shrew 3.1?

What tactics do Lucentio and Hortentio use to persuade Bianca of their suit? Which is more successful and why?

According to Biondello’s report, how does Petruccio dress for the wedding and what what sort of horse does he ride? How is his footman attired? How do Baptista, Tranio, and Biondello react? Compare their reactions to Kate’s.

How does Gremio describe Katherine and Patruccio’s wedding? Why doesn’t Shakespeare stage the wedding? Why do we just get a report?

What sound rings through the church at the end of the ceremony?

Why don’t Katherine and Petruccio stay for their wedding dinner?

Act 4

Is Shrew a criticism of excess? If so, who is the object of the criticism?

How are all the events at Petruccio’s house made possible by the initial absence of the hostess?

Compare Katherine’s education with Bianca’s.

How does education, in general, compare with the training of animals? What receives instruction, mind or body?

If the king is so absolute as to be the head, source, essence, origin, of power and hierarchy in the kingdom, then why is he so easy to imitate?

Why does Grumio rhyme so much? Why is there so much rhyming throughout Shrew?

What does Grumio tell Curtus about Petruccio and Katherine’s journey from Verona to the countryside?

What sort of lord is Petruccio? Is his managerial style successful?

What strategies does Petruccio use to “curb [Katherine’s] mad and headstrong humour” (4.1.189)?

What oath do Tranio and Hortensio swear to one another? Why does Shakespeare stage the oath the two suitors swear against (or beside) the two lovers, who also express their love for one another?

Is all school, “taming-school” (4.2.55)?

What do Tranio and Lucentio want from the Pedant? How does Tranio persuade him to comply with his request?

What sort of a host is Petruccio? What sort of hospitality does his house offer? How does Grumio imitate him? Why does he expect Katherine to do the same?

What time will Petruccio, Katherine, and the rest of the household leave for Baptista’s house?

Why is the Pedant so good at marriage contracts? Also, what are the conditions of Lucentio and Bianca’s contract?

What does Biondello mean when he says, “I cannot tarry, I knew a wench married in an afternoon as she went to the garden for parsley to stuff a rabbit, and so may you sir, and so adieu, sir” (4.5.23-25)?

The road to Padua:

Do you agree or disagree with Jean Howard’s assessment of the famous scene: “Kate calls the sun the moon and an old man a budding virgin. Her words at this point no longer express her own perceptions, but her husband’s blatantly willing the reading of reality” (179).

How might we read the scene as an interrogation of the way in which perception works? In other words, what relationship between words and things does the scene establish? 

Act 5

Why do Lucentio and Bianca marry in secret (clandestinely)?

What are the conditions of the game the men play in the final act? How much does each man wager? What does each have to accomplish to win the bet?

How does Bianca respond? How does the Widow respond? How does Katherine respond?

What do you make of 5.2.140-84?

 

Visual Rhetoric. Sept 24

L0035582 An Iron 'scolds bridle' mask used to publicaly humiliate
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
An Iron 'scold's bridle' or 'branks' mask, with large nose piece, grotesque ears and two horns, used to publicly humiliate and punish, mainly women, for speaking out against authority. Brussels, Belgium
Photograph
1550 - 1800 Published:  - 

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Recap

Nice discussion on Tuesday! We drew out some of the following features from Shrew‘s first act:

  • Physiological/medical valences derived from both the idea that the whole play is framed as cure for Sly’s melancholy (Induction 2.125-32), and the Petrarchan love tropes (love darts) see Lucentio (1.1.218-19)
  • Hannah told us that shrew is the root for shrewd, which opens up ways to consider Katherine that are grounded in the language. According to the OED the term ‘shrew’ can also pertain to men, what’s that about?
  • While there is no way to be sure if the play reflects early modern expectations of the right and wrong ways to be a man or a woman, we can ask: why does this play provoke us to consider general social attitudes toward sex and gender? We compared these ideas to Ferdinand and Miranda’s vows in Tempest 3.2
  • We talked about staging conventions: all male casts; animal bating that was conducted the same theaters where the plays were played; stock characters of the Commedia dell’arte such as Grumio, the pantalone; that the groups of men form a sort-of classic style chorus; and that references to corporal punishments through out the text, such as “To cart her, rather” (1.1.58) suggest “folk performances” such as Skimmington Rides; Cucking Stools; and scold bridles.

Donna Haraway & Animal Studies


Term Definition
Anthropocentrism The distinction human/animal falls short of really differentiating all the different sorts of animals and people on the one hand, and on the other hand, the human/animal divide cannot describe ways the two are always interacting. The line dividing the two categories can be dangerous b/c it authorizes terrible mistreatment of humans and animals.
Companion Species Haraway says maybe looking at loving human/animal relationships might be a good place to start: “Historically situated animals in companionate relationships with equally situated humans are, of course, players in the world” (99). It’s very good to realize that people partner with dogs, horses, cats, cows, etc. to shape the word. But…Haraway argues, that’s not the whole story because human and animal partnership change over time & for her that “becoming with” is a much kinder place to think about relationships (99). To that end she says, “The partners do not precede their relating, all that is is the fruit of becoming with–” (99)
‘Companion’ While “companion species” in ordinary usage doesn’t quite encapsulate the sort of movement she’s interested in, its a really good phrase and she doesn’t want to throw it away. Instead she gets to the bottom of it, by first think through the history of the ways the terms have been used. Overall ‘companion’ denote eating together. And also, perhaps, who eats; who or what can be eaten?
‘Species’ Specre, Latin for ‘too look/behold is at the root of ‘species.’ From its root, Haraway draws out the connection between specre, the root of species, and respecre (or respectus), which is the root of modern English word ‘respect.’ That is to say, respect also means to look again. So Haraway argues that the term companion species already has built into it a movement or futurity that can best describe humans and animals. Or as she explains, “To knot companion and species together in encounter, in regard and respect, is to enter the world of becoming, with, where, who and what are precisely what are at stake” (102).
Applications What might it mean to suggest the of Kate and Petruccio that “the partners do not precede their relating”? There are several instances in Shrew in which human and animal voices are indistinguishable, what are the implications of such confusions? Are there moments in Shrew in which characters ‘look again’ and are then irrevocably changed from that point forward?

Part I. Key Word Search, Visual Rendering, &

Piktochart, ‘How-To’

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 and/or UrbanDictionary, or Brill Renaissance Latin Dictionary
  • Look up your word in Open Source Shakespeare
  • Draw some conclusions about your findings: does usage vary over time; does the word show up in fewer or more plays than you expected; is it more likely to show up in comedies than tragedies; were there connotations you did not expect, etc.?

Part II. Franco Zeffirelli‘s Taming of the Shrew (1967)

2.2 “wooing sequence” (36-48 mins)The_Taming_of_the_Shrew_(1967_film)_poster

While we watch the clip, please consider the following questions:
What’s the relationship between the visual and aural in this scene? Where are the scenes set? Does the character movement, scope of the shots, color composition, and/or lighting enhance the dialogue? Does the composition or adaptation contradict your reading of 2.2?

RQ: Shrew 1 & Haraway 97-107

Dog_clicker_training

Directions

Keep the following questions in mind as you read Act 1 of The Taming of the Shrew, and Donna Haraway’s, “Companion Species” (97-107). The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

Taming of the Shrew Act 1

Does Sly remain on stage for the entirety of the play, or return to play another role? If he does return to play another role, what part would you cast him in? If he stays on stage, how does his presence shape the play’s meaning?

What does Lucentio decide to study, and why? What does Tranio suggest he do instead?

What is the matter of the play according to Baptista’s first lines? What other plots does his decision provoke?

What’s Katherina’s first line? How does she offer a rejoinder to Gremio’s “To cart her, rather” (1.155), and then some?

How does Bianca plan to spend her time till she can get married? Is there any reason to fear that “music, instruments, and poetry,” (1.1.93) will transform her into a shrew?

Do Gremio, Hortentio, Tranio, & Lucentio form a chorus? Do they represent everyday values, or do they muddy everyday values?

How does Hortentio respond to Gremio’s rhetoric?

How do descriptions of Katherina in 1.1 compare with what she does and says herself?

Near the end of act one, Lucentio says, “And let me be a slave to achieve that maid/Whose sudden sight hath enthralled my wounded eye” (1.1.18-19). What sorts of poetic conventions does he draw on here? How does this moment suggest an expectation that there is something inherently dangerous in visual composition?

Does Tranio make Luctentio or does Lucentio make Tranio? Is there any danger in their in plot?

Is Petruccio a villain? What do you make of his relationship with Grumio?

How does Hortensio interpret Petruccio? Does his response to him cast doubts on his ability to judge character?

Donna Haraway, “Encounters with Companion Species” (97-107)

What does Haraway mean when she says, “companion species” (98-99)?

  • Companion: what connotations/denotations does her etymology of the word yield? What does she mean when she says the word is “gustatory” (100)?
  • Species: What does connotations/denotations does her etymology of the word yield? How is this term ”visual” (100-102)?

What are tradition expectations of human-animal relations? What happens to those expectations when we recognize that animals not only “look back at humans” (102), but both our trajectories are irrevocably changed as a consequence of the intersection?

What does it mean to distinguish a response from a reaction? What are the stakes of this discrimination (103)?

What might it mean to consider the absence of a name as something “other than a privation” (103)?

What “obligation” did Derrida fail to meet with his cat? What kept him from answering the cat’s invitation (103)?

What questions about animals does Derrida regard as the “decisive question”? What does questions about animals does Haraway regard as the “decisive question”? Why the difference (105-07)?

Induction. Sept 17

Andaman_white-toothed_shrew

Recap

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?

67shrew

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?