Monday, February 13, 2023
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Yeah, I’m not shopping for it – Hey, Shakespeare!

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t discover The Taming of the Shrew to be terribly humorous or notably good. It was a play about demeaning and gaslighting ladies into subservience, dressed up as a lighthearted farce. In a phrase, offensive. This isn’t to say that I used to be raging up and down my room, shouting at a long-dead Elizabethan playwright for subjecting me to outdated comedic sensibilities. As an alternative, I used to be upset. Upset that this man I’m coming to deeply respect wasted my time with this play. From the unusual Induction to the unhealthy sexual politics, there was extra to dislike than to get pleasure from.

As a bona fide dum-dum, I’ve largely steered away from any secondary texts referring to Shakespeare’s work, however I did come throughout an odd protection of Shrew from none apart from the famed critic Harold Bloom. He eschewed what he termed feminist readings of the play and as a substitute argued that Petruchio and Katharina have the perfect marriage in all of Shakespearean drama, with the potential exception of the MacBeths. That doesn’t really feel proper, however I’m prepared to listen to him out. He says:

“Since Kate and Petruchio are social equals, their very own dislocation could also be their shared, fairly violent types of expression, which Petruchio “cures” in Kate on the excessive value of augmenting his personal boisterousness to an excessive the place it hardly could be distinguished from a paranoid mania. Who cures, and who’s cured, stays a disturbing matter on this marriage, which probably will preserve itself in opposition to a cowed world by a typical entrance of formidable pugnacity…”

Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human (pp. 28-9)

Mr. Bloom even goes on to say everyone knows {couples} like Kate and Petruchio… I can’t say as I do, Harry.

I don’t know the place this shit comes from.

Bloom’s argument is that Petruchio has needed to endure as a lot as Katharina in his personal method. As a result of breaking the desire of a lady is tough work, we should always sympathize with Petruchio as a lot as Katharina. No, I can’t get behind that one. Bloom even will get a bit of testy with the play’s detractors, saying, “One must be tone deaf (or ideologically crazed) to not hear… [this] music of marriage at its happiest.” I imply, did we simply learn the identical play? I could not have the ear of a Harold Bloom, however the “happiness” Petruchio and Katharina show is the overexuberance of a pair attempting to faux it ’til they make it.

No matter my variations with Harold Bloom, I preserve this play isn’t for me. The truth is, as I’ve indicated in earlier entries, I don’t assume Shakespeare’s comedies are actually my bag. This isn’t to say that I gained’t proceed to provide them a good shake, however I actually don’t need one other play that depends on violence in opposition to the oppressed or the exploitation of girls for laughs. I imply, that stuff could be in there, nevertheless it simply can’t be the central humorous enterprise of the comedy.

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