- 3. Final paper topics
- 4. Is Heart of Darkness a racist text or is it a text that depicts racism?
- 5. Comparison of two of the texts we've read since the midterm
- 6. Tagore or Chekhov compared to the New York Times article of your choice
- 7. Notes from Underground linked to an article in the New York Times
- 8. Nicholas Kristof's "Not Quite a Teen, Yet Sold for Sex," compared to Harriet Jacobs's Incidents
- Citations from Oroonoko that connect to our themes
- Midterm paper topics
- Shrew and Oroonoko
- Shrew, Act 1
- Shrew, MRS and Ph.D.
Category Archives: Shrew, Act 1
An article found in New York Times title remixing Ireland’s Gender Blend summarized that how Ireland’s political party are filled with male and had introduced legislation to shift this around. Right now it is requiring the parties to have at least 30% of women in the parties. Men were dominating the society in Ireland.
The way I see how the article is related to Taming of the Shrew is men are more powerful and are the one making the decision. In act 2 scene 1 Petruchio is proposing to Katharina and what’s coming out of Katharina did not wanted to marry Petruchio “Call you me daughter? Now, I promise you You have show’d a tender fatherly regard, To wish me wed to one half lunatic.” Bapista whose Katharina’s father just agreed to Petruchio’s propose then they are married later. This showed women had no right to make their own decision, their life were controlled by the superior. Even though Katharina is in a rich class in the society, and an angry woman, she later become soft and has to pray to her husband Petruchio for food.
In the article even though the new legislation is passed regarding having more population of women in the political parties but in the society of Ireland, they remained unwelcome in the parties. “Yet male politicians have been reluctant to change family-unfriendly hours that discourage women from politics.” This still could prevent many women gaining the power over men in Ireland. So similarly in both society men tend to be the one dominating.
Early in play The Taming of The Shrew by William Shakespeare, we learn that Katherine and Bianca are to be married off by a suitor chosen by their father. The father of the two is trying to make his daughters more appealing to men who may possibly be interested in marrying either Katherine or Bianca. One way in which he tries to help is by having the girls home schooled. This at the time was only something that was available to the wealthy class.
In Act 1. Sc. 2 line 135 which reads, “Well seen in music, to instruct Bianca” we learn of how Bianca will be learning about music which at the time was important to teach to have a well rounded education which included knowledge of the arts. We also see the importance of music in an article of The New York Times titled Armed With Violins, El Sistema Fights Poverty in Venezuela written by Daniel J. Walkin which shows the importance of teaching underprivileged children how to read, play and understand the history of music. According to the article this is a way of keeping children wanting to learn more and distracted from their surroundings of drugs and poverty. Daniel describes the school’s aim as a means to “address a depressingly universal problem.”
The importance of well rounded education goes a lot further than using your skills acquired to find a job in your field, as we learn from The Taming of The Shrew and Fighting Poverty, Armed With Violins. It also provides more opportunities in life
In The Taming of The Shrew, Katherine uses her sharp tongue as a defense mechanism when dealing with the misogynistic treatment of her as an opinionated woman. In her first meeting of Petruchio, he attempts to undermine Katherine’s temperament by comparing her to an angry untamed wasp. Katherine quickly responds with, “If I be waspish, best beware my sting” (II.1.225). It becomes evident very early in the story that Katherine is not the typical 16th century “lady” as defined by her society. Because of this she is given an extremely hard time by her family and suitors. Katherine despises the expectations that are placed on her by her society to be an obedient and courteous young woman. Subsequently she insults and berates the men who try to court her thus earning her the title of “The Shrew”.
Fast forwarding to present times, while the views and treatment of women have greatly evolved since the 16th Century there is still a sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle implication that outspoken and strong minded women are to be considered “shrewish” or in the words of Mrs. Christine Hamilton, “a battle axe”.
Christopher Petkanas recently published an article in The NY Times (pg E14) named “Wearing Their Strength On Their Sleeves”. In this article Christopher talks about Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the film, “The Iron Lady”. He goes on to describe her wardrobe of power-skirt suits and handbags as a sort of armor worn by powerful influential women such as Joan Collins, Queen Victoria, socialite Lady Rothermere, and Mrs. Thatcher. This wardrobe is categorized in Christine Hamilton’s “The Bumper Book of British Battle Axes”. Mrs. Hamilton who has also been identified as a “battle-ax herself has not yielded to this stereotype but instead wears it as “a badge of honor”. Much like “Kate”, she uses this mindset in addition to her wardrobe as a sort of defensive wall against her critics. Mrs. Thatcher’s look as described by Daily Mail columnist, Ms. Street Porter, is designed to say “I speak, you listen”.
Even in today’s society it seems like women who reach a certain position of power in any job sector are believed to be cold, ruthless, or bitchy. Why after so many years are strong mined and successful women still being criticized and associated with references such as “battle axe, and bitch” while men who carry these same characteristics are accepted as assertive and confident?
Bianca is to Blank as Romney is to adaptable. When Romney decided to run for president, I doubt he had any (idea) that one small literature classroom would have (cause, reason) to compare him and his campaign with one of Shakespeare’s, plays let alone “The Taming of the Shrew.” Undoubtedly the similarities between Romney as a presidential candidate and his campaign as a whole can be compared to the play from multiple different angles: Bianca’s attitude towards her marriage and courtship is (similar) to Romney’s towards his campaign being as neither one of them have a strong stand or opinion on any one matter…also, Romney’s campaign is much like a courtship and in the same way Romney is having difficulty winning over a majority of republican voters, Petruchio is facing resistance with Katherine. Bianca’s debut in the play was enough to sum up her character. She stands my meekly as her father discusses her future and marriage, she readily agrees to comply to whatever he wishes for her to do by saying “…Sir, to your pleasure humbly I subscribe”. My books and instruments shall be my company, on them to look and practice by myself.”(Act1 Scene 1 Lines 82-84) The young lady never once says how she truly feels about her father’s dictatorial method in choosing how and who she would become betrothed to in other words, she aims to please …much in the same way that Romney aims to please Republican voters by aiming to be the most ‘republican’, republican candidate. Katherine on the other hand is much more fired up about her fate and makes sure her father is aware of this by voicing her thoughts. “I pray you sire, is it your will, To Make a stale of me amongst these mates?(Act1Scene1 lines 58-59). Being as this is the first line Katherine says in the play, the audience is immediately aware of what a spitfire she is…she leaves a lasting impression with her fiery personality. With Bianca on the other hand, besides her beauty, has no other memorable trait. According to the news paper article, “The opening batch of primaries and caucuses have also shown Mr. Romney’s limitations as a candidate. It has raised questions about his consistency and highlighted his tendency to say things that get him in trouble.” (Romney Faces Rebels on the Right and Softness in the Middle) Mr. Romney has a tendency to get in trouble because he says one thing to please a group of people one day then says something else to please another group. The average American would describe Romney as the rich no-decisive candidate, just as any off Bianca’s suitors would describe her as beautiful and obliging. In both their cases, you can shape them to be whatever you want them to be being as they chose to not take strong dedicated non-wavering stand on anything. Their personalities allow anyone to fill in the blank.
Presidential campaign is to courtship as inauguration is to marriage and impeachment is to divorce. In much the same way that sisters Katherine and Bianca are being courted by their suitors in hopes of obtaining the lady’s hand in marriage, the American public is currently being courted by Romney in hopes that he will be elected as president. Just as Romney faces challenge with the voters, Lucentio and Hortensio face difficulty with getting access to Bianca and in addition, Petruchio faces a battle getting Katherine to become smitten with him. Just as people have different reasons for pursuing marriage and will marry for different reasons, voters also chose who to support using different logic. “There are those who vote with their heart and those who vote with their head” (Romney…middle). Hortensio and Lucentio both seek marriage with their heart, Petruchio with his head, Katherine would rather not get married at all and Bianca…well no one knows exactly what she wants. Act 2 Scene 1, Lines 190 to 293 clearly demonstrate the cat and mouse game between Katherine and Pertruchio however he does not get discouraged because even before he met her, he said to himself “…Say that she frown, I’ll say she looks as clear as morning roses newly washed with dew. Say she be mute and will not speak a word, then I’ll commend her volubility.” (Act2 Scene1 Lines80-83). Before he met Katherine, Petruchio is using his head to think and make sure he approaches her in a way that will make him appear irresistible, just as Romney wants voters to find him to be the clear obvious choice for a candidate. However, he underestimated her spirit by saying “Nay, come, Kate, come. You must not look so sour (Act2 Scene2 Line42). To which she replies “It is my fashion when I see a crab”. Gaining affection, just like a presidential vote, is not an easy feat. Also, it is often said that when you first start dating someone, the version of themselves they present to you is their representative and only after marriage will their true self emerge. Romney seems to be attempting to sweet talk republicans into electing him by appearing to be the perfect republican. In summary, the obvious similarity between Bianca and Romney is the fact that they are docile and seem eager to please, Bianca with her father and Romney with the voters. Much like Bianca, Romney never takes a strong stand on any one issue. They broader connection is that comparing an election with a marriage and yet, it is the more mind stimulating comparison…and let’s not forget, just as one can divorce a spouse, a president can be impeached.
In the NY Times article called “Try Medieval Hot Pants? Surely, You Joust”, Neil Genzlinger reports about his visit to the set of the TV series entitled “Full Metal Jousting” which can be seen at the History Channel, and describes his experience as he tries out the gear, not the jousting.
Neil says the armor was tight, heavy, and that the temperature went from room temperature, about 72 degrees, to maybe 350 degrees in about 10 minutes, much like the mood of Katherine, in “The Taming of the Shrew” from William Shakespeare.
In act 3. sc. 2. lines 1-20, Katherine gets ready for the wedding, of this marriage against her will, and the groom, Petruchio, is late for the wedding ceremony, when Batista starts out crying out about the shame of his… only to hear what Katherine had to say about that;
“No shame but mine. I must, forsooth, be forced to give my hand, opposed from my heart, unto a mad-brain rudesby, full of spleen, who wooed in haste and means to wed at leisure….”
But the TV series seem to have a recipe for the heat. A new approach to jousting; While the traditional renaissance fairs will usually have jousting only for the show, the TV series attempts to bring what the “real thing” would have been like, if it ever were. The NY Times article mentions King Henry II of France, who died in a jousting accident in 1559, to add that the accident is probably the reason why kings do not joust any longer.
At the end of “The Taming of the Shrew”, act 5. sc 2., Katherine, quite a different person at this point, discourses about the role of the wife to their husbands, which I quote:
“A woman moved (anger) is like a fountain troubled. Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty…”
And even if she really meant what she said, it is a lot like how “Full Metal Jousting” attempts to recreate the medieval exhibition of war practice turned into Reality TV Sport Show. As if no one knew that it is fake, and it does not really matter how hard they try, they will always fall short of delivering the real thing.
The heroine of the “Taming of the Shrew” is quiet ego-centric person who wants the things around her to be under her control. She dares to insult her most close people – her family, just because of her bad mood or misunderstanding of their words. She takes the words addressed to her to literally without reading between the lines. Perhaps, a little bit more patience could help her to understand the people around her and not to take them so strictly.
As the quite opposite person we could see another Katherine. Katherine Boo – a Pulitzer Prize winner who is a famous journalist. The Article about her “An Outsider Gives Voice to Slumdogs” by author Charles McGrath ( Page C1) shows us how important and at the same time invisible person could be. She writes about the epic and important things around us and at the same time she never put herself at the beginning of the sentence as a point of view. She simply describes the things she saw with all the sincerity and gives the reader a right to judge. She doesn’t want to be a centre of someone’s’ attention and at the same time she actually could change the point of view of other people around her using the simple words.
In Act 1 of Taming of the Shrew, Katherine makes a remark to her father: ” I pray you sir, is it your will to make a stale of me amongst these mates?” In this statement Katherine is responding to her father, Baptista, for telling Lucentio, Tranio, Gremio and Hortensio that she must first be wed before any man is to marry his youngest daughter, Bianca.
In “Moving Past ‘Fierce’” on page E1 of the New York Times, fairly new designer Christian Siriano describes his struggles with being underestimated and looked down upon by his peers in the fashion industry due to his success from a reality TV show. While Siriano is not a female as Katherine, there are immense and apparent similarities in how they are perceived by those around them; just not good enough or rather misunderstood. Much like Katherine, Siriano states he is just fine with how he is perceived.
Another similar quality in these two individuals is the fact that the society in which they live is not perceptive to changes in social hierarchy. For Katherine, women were clearly not perceived as well respected individuals in the time period in which she lived. Today, reality TV stars are not highly respected (or at all) by industry peers. Their struggles are very similar.
While there are some fundamental differences between Katherine and Siriano, they both struggle in a society where they are considered inferior. Katherine is an intelligent, quick witted woman in a society where women are not highly respected-especially for speaking their mind. Instead, men such as Lucentio vie for the attention of a girl with an almost non-existent personality-Bianca. Whereas Siriano struggles to gain the respect of his peers for lack of “hard work” or having to “work his way up” like many other successful designers.
In the “Induction,” — the opening section of The Taming of the Shrew — Christophero Sly, a drunken beggar, is asleep in the gutter when a Lord decides to play a trick on him and make him believe that his whole life has been no more than a delusion, a long hallucination. The Lord and his servants conspire to convince Sly that he is a great Lord himself, with a beautiful wife, a rich household, and many servants.
At first, Sly wonders whether he has gone mad, but then he begins to accept what the people around him are telling him. He is rather quickly persuaded that the life he thought he had led was a delusion, and that he is in fact the great man that those around him now claim to perceive when they look at him.
In “From Founders to Decorators, Facebook Riches” (February 1, 2012), New York Times reporters Nick Bilton and Evelyn M. Rusli describe the case of David Choe, a graffiti artist who painted the walls of Facebook’s first corporate headquarters and was paid for his services in stock rather than cash. After Facebook goes public later this year, Choe’s stock is expected to be worth more than $200 million. What effect will this have on Choe’s life? Will he, like Christophero Sly, begin to feel that the world of financial constraint he lived in prior to acquiring that fortune was a dream, a long delusion from which the money awoke him? Will his circumstances be so different, and will those around him treat him so differently, that he begins to wonder who he is, and whether he is losing his grip on himself?
Here’s his personal website: http://davidchoe.com What do you think?
The larger question brought up by both of these stories is: are we the person we feel ourselves to be within ourselves, regardless of our external circumstances? Or is it our external circumstances and how other people see us that dictate who we are?