Visual Rhetoric. Sept 24
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
|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, &
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)
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?