What Is Meant By The Title "The Taming Of The Shrew"?


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Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
One dictionary definition of a shrew is "a bad-tempered or scolding woman;" even today, we still occasionally use the word "shrewish." In Shakespeare's play the hero, Petruchio, deliberately sets out to "tame" his bride, Kate, who is locally famous for her violent temper. He does literally tame her, using much the same techniques as might be used on a wild hawk (to which Kate is frequently compared) – isolating her from her family and depriving her of food and sleep. Weakened physically, and thrown off balance by Petruchio's unpredictable behaviour and displays of a temper even more fiery than her own, Kate soon gives in. Eventually she amazes all who know her by her eloquent, public description of a wife's duties: "such duty as a subject to a prince/ Even such a woman oweth to her husband."
Even allowing for the time in which the play was written, modern audiences are sometimes shocked by what seems to be psychological cruelty on Petruchio's part; but it's usually performed as a fast-paced comedy, with a strong mutual attraction between the characters. It's also worth remembering that the various folk tales which form the play's main sources are usually very violent, which Shakespeare's play isn't.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
The Taming of the Shrew 1908. Based on Shakespeare's play: Petruchio courts the bad-tempered Katharina, and tries to change her aggressive behavior.

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