Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Taming of the Shrew

Petruccio: Come, come, you wasp, i’faith you are too angry.

Katherine: If I be waspish, best beware my sting.

Petruccio: My remedy is then to pluck it out.

Katherine: Ay, if the fool could find where it lies.

Petruccio: Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting? In his tail.

Katherine: In his tongue.

Petruccio: Whose tongue?

Katherine: Yours, if you talk of tales, and so farewell.

Petruccio: What, with my tongue in your tail?

This passage, from the novel The Taming of the Shrew by Skakespeare, is a conversation between Petruccio and Kate when they meet each other for the very first time. Petruccio, knowing of Kate's shrewness, sets out using his verbal wit to undermine Kate. Petruccio has heard of the stories of Kate and how the other characters compare her to a wild animal. In this passage, he refers to her as a wasp. Kate having a fast tongue attempts to put him back in his place with her smart remarks such as "if i be waspish, you best beware of my sting." He then continues throwing back sexual comments to whatever Kate says. He even mentions his intent to tame her. This whole passage, filled with its sexual innuendos and references embodies the conflict between Kate and Petruccio along with the underlying sexual attraction. This passage also contributes to the motif, domestication. Domestication in the novel, begins with the title (the taming of the shrew). Petruccio's ultimate goal to "tame" Kate also adds to the motif.

Shakespeare's use of comedy as his genre for his novel is not the type of comedy are society is used to. When our class went around in a circle and stated what each person found comedic, there was a wide variety of things. Some people found simple things comedic while others found outrageous things funny. Our society also finds humor in when it's obvious. Shakespeare liked to make the humor less obvious but rather leave it up to the reader (or in the play's case, the watcher) to find the comedy. Shakespeare keeps things somewhat clean (however this statement is contradicted my passage I chose above) and very witty. He utilized sarcasm and simply irony. Comedy is seen in The Taming of the Shrew through the character's use of verbal wit and ridiculous circumstances they get themselves into. In Midsummer Night's Dream, the story line was less realistic and more fantasy. The humor came out of the picture created along with the character's that Shakespeare developes such as Bottom. While today's humor can be offensive to some and not always be funny, Shakespeare's use of humor was good natured and simply to make his audience laugh while working their minds. In the end, I enjoyed this play. However, if I had to choose between this and Midsummer, I would probably choose Midsummer. That one had more apparent comedy and was easier to visualize without actually seeing the play. And I did actually get a chance to see an excerpt of it performed and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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