Yeah, I’m not buying it
Hey, Shakespeare!
by Alex H.
2y ago
Unsurprisingly, I didn’t find The Taming of the Shrew to be terribly funny or particularly good. It was a play about demeaning and gaslighting women into subservience, dressed up as a lighthearted farce. In a word, offensive. This is not to say that I was raging up and down my room, shouting at a long-dead Elizabethan playwright for subjecting me to outdated comedic sensibilities. Instead, I was disappointed. Disappointed that this guy I’m coming to deeply respect wasted my time with this play. From the strange Induction to the bad sexual politics, there was more to dislike than to enjoy. As a ..read more
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This is the end?
Hey, Shakespeare!
by Alex H.
2y ago
I am beginning to think that Shakespeare’s comedies are just not for me. In fairness to the Bard, however, I will admit my issues with his comedies seem rooted in what Elizabethan culture would have found funny. The Taming of the Shrew ends with a hilarious scene of Petruchio demonstrating for his bros how he was able to gaslight and bully Katharina into absolute submission to him. And when I say “hilarious”, I mean disturbing and gross. I guess the whole point of the play being how to break a woman’s spirit just hits this modern reader the wrong way. Act V begins with a quick scene in which t ..read more
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Shrew tamed
Hey, Shakespeare!
by Alex H.
3y ago
The fourth act of The Taming of the Shrew was troubling for me. Katharina finds herself married to a pretty terrible guy who is using psychological and physical torture to break her of her independent will. I may be viewing this play from modern eyes, making it difficult to see the humor in Petruchio’s abusive behavior, but I just don’t see how this act was anything other than dark and disturbing. We start the act with the newlyweds’ arrival to Petruchio’s estate. We learn that Petruchio has been physically abusive to both Katharina and his servant Grumio, and Katharina has taken it upon herse ..read more
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A nice day for a violent wedding
Hey, Shakespeare!
by Alex H.
3y ago
Petruchio continues to prove himself an avaricious and untrustworthy suitor to Katharina. Lucentio and Hortensio have eyes on each other while trying to woo Bianca, and Tranio is continuing his masquerade as the heir to the greatest fortune the world has ever known. This act was pretty wild an ended things on a rather uncertain note, with Petruchio and Katharina MIA and possible trouble brewing around Bianca. Act Three starts with Lucentio and Hortensio fighting over who gets to tutor Bianca. In an unexpectedly assertive move, Bianca says she gets to decide because this is her time, not theirs ..read more
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No, Petruchio is the worst
Hey, Shakespeare!
by Alex H.
3y ago
The second act was relatively short, but it sure packed in a lot of terrible behavior from most of the characters in the play. We see a little domestic violence, a non-consensual betrothal, and a dipstick of a father at his wits’ end. Everybody is lying to each other to suit their own ends and it is as disgusting as it is entertaining. Most of the people in this play are miserable human beings and I am here for it. We start the act with Bianca antagonizing Katharina for standing in her way of a good marriage. When Katharina pushes back on this idea, Bianca gets fresh with her and Katharina hit ..read more
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Is Katharina the worst?
Hey, Shakespeare!
by Alex H.
3y ago
The first act proper of The Taming of the Shrew is nearly as complicated as the last comedy I read, only this time it’s not quite so exasperating. I like that some of the characters are a little likeable this time around, giving us a point of focus in this rather complex plot. The titular shrew is the funniest part so far and I get the impression she is going to just tell it like it is, consequences be damnèd. The act starts out with Lucentio, a wealthy young gentleman, coming to town to learn philosophy. He is immediately sidetracked by the beautiful Bianca, the younger daughter of Baptista ..read more
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So, what’s an Induction?
Hey, Shakespeare!
by Alex H.
3y ago
When sitting down to read The Taming of the Shrew, I assumed it would follow the same five act structure as all the other plays thus far. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the play and instead there was an Induction before the first act. In fact, in the Dramatis Personae, there is a listing of characters that only appear in the Induction. I’ve never read a play with this interesting little structural add-on before. It appears to be a frame story that the story proper fits within. It’s a strange little setup, and I am interested to see where it goes from here. The Induction starts with a dru ..read more
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Bill the romantic (Interlude #6)
Hey, Shakespeare!
by Alex H.
3y ago
The current selection of sonnets takes a much more romantic turn than any of the previous poems. These seem much more like the sonnets I was imagining before starting this journey: romantic, adoring, inspiring, and totally cheesy. Sonnet 26 – The speaker is telling his love that he is writing this poem to show his duty is to his beloved. He’s not very bright, so it’s hard for him to express himself fully, and so he’s not going to make an ass of himself and write full-on love poetry. Instead, until he can express himself right, he’s going to leave it at this. I can’t help but notice he’s expres ..read more
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An unexpected spot of the ol’ ultraviolence
Hey, Shakespeare!
by Alex H.
3y ago
The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus was not at all what I was expecting. The “tragedy” part of the title suggests it is not going to be a happy and lighthearted story, but the darkness and cynicism at the root of this play really affected me in a way that only the most vile and disgusting horror films usually do. In other words, I loved this play. I recently heard Titus Andronicus described as a splatterpunk masterpiece and I have to agree with that assessment. Though the violence and depravity on display here are completely over the top, I don’t feel they are gratuitous. Shakespeare wasn’t trying ..read more
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As bad as it gets
Hey, Shakespeare!
by Alex H.
3y ago
I can’t say I’m surprised at the dark ending Titus Andronicus treated me to, but that didn’t make it any less disturbing. Here at the end, we have a very poor attempt at subterfuge, the most unrepentant villain I have ever seen, and murders heaped upon murders. The act starts with Lucius hanging out with the Goths, talking about how they all hate Tamora these days when who but Aaron and his baby should enter. Lucius is set to kill them both, but Aaron says if he will spare the child, Aaron will confess everything. Which he does in great detail. He also says the only thing he regrets is not doi ..read more
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