Taming the Shrew?

“Kiss me Kate!” demands Petruchio.

And when she does, Petruchio demonstrates that he has “tamed” the Shrew.

He wears her down and eventually shows her that, if she bends to his will, life gets much easier. Then, suddenly it seems, they fall in love and Kate remains the submissive wife. They live Happily Ever After.

Do you know Kate? I personally liked her virginal feistiness, her determination to be noticed for herself and not someone in the way of her pretty and pliable sister.

Kate's got her man

What would we do with Kate today? If she continued to throw things and whack every boyfriend who came near, she’d be “tamed” with meds.

More likely, she would start off being sarcastic and non-committal.  In 2011, she’d be the woman who had “friends with benefits” and be the serial sleep around. Or, in a milder version, she’d be the woman who was married to her career, have a monogamous but distant relationship with someone she met in college.  You’ve seen the movies. Instead of throwing fruit, Kate would throw around her hard earned power.

Neither of the Kate’s is really a good balance.  But Shakespeare’s Kate is far more fun than the more subtle, devious, Kate of today.   Even so, I can’t imagine any woman doing such a complete personality switch for a husband who practically abducts her. If I were her friend, I’d have an intervention.

“What’s gotten into you, Kate? What has Petruchio done to you? Are you drugged?” I’d ask.

“You don’t understand. It is my role to be the inferior to my husband. Things work much better that way.”

“Now I know you’ve gone over the edge. ‘Inferior’ you say? Where is your brain?

“I don’t mean less, I mean second.”

“Well in my book, second is less.”

“You’ll never understand.  I’m happy now. Things work better if Petruchio and I don’t argue about everything.”

“You mean you give up your free will. Think of what you miss when you do this Kate. What does your brain tell you, your heart, your body? What are you feeling?”

“I’m feeling fulfilled and happy. I feel at peace and calm. I’m thinking I can still have my own meditative thoughts. Be happy for me”

Which ending do you think is most believable?

ONE

“Okay, Kate. I’ll always be around for you. Now that you have made this decision, I’ll be your support no matter what.

TWO

“Okay, Kate. You’ve made your decision, but don’t come crying to me when things don’t work out. You can’t change the basic you. Good luck!”

Seriously, go see The Taming of the Shrew at the Hanna Theater. You’ll love their 80’s version that is very physical, funny, and yet still  contains the same old message.


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  1. Carolyn says:

    Can a leopard change its spots? Hmmmm…Just wait. It won’t be long until our Petruchio figures out he’s been dupped!