The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew (Engl. The Taming of the Shrew ) is a comedy by William Shakespeare . The work is set in the Italian city of Padua and is about the wealthy merchant Baptista and the circumstances of the marriage of his two daughters Bianca and Katharina. Shakespeare probably finished the work in the summer of 1592 at the latest. In addition to popular motifs and traditions, he also used George Gascoigne's comedy The Supposes (1566) as a source . The first recorded performance date comes from an entry in Henslowe's diary from June 1594. The only authentic text can be found in the First Folio from 1623. Early adaptations and translations show that the piece was very popular in Shakespeare's time. Due to the misogynous plot, the work has been considered a “problem play” at least since the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the women's movement and is seen today primarily under the aspect of early modern gender politics. The theatrical history of the play has remained a success story up to the present day, in which The Taming of the Shrew was hardly performed in a historicizing or a classic, but was staged in a wide variety of updates.
In the prologue of the framework story, Schlau, an always drunk tinker , is rudely removed from an inn after he has rioted. He remains lying on the street and falls asleep. A lord returning home from the hunt with his entourage sees him lying and takes him to his castle. He wants to have fun with the man. When Smart comes to, he lies cleanly washed and perfumed in a clean bed, with servants around him. He is persuaded that he is a lord who has suffered from mental illness for 15 years and has now recovered, fortunately for his family and servants. Above all his wife - a handsome young servant who was quickly put into women's clothes - is now happy to have her loved one back with her. Smart is persuaded that the life he has lived so far has been nothing but a dream, until he finally believes the story himself. When a traveling theater company comes to the castle, the actors play the following comedy on the Lord's instructions.
The action takes place in Padua . Lucentio falls in love with Bianca, the younger of Baptista's two daughters. But Baptista has determined that he will not allow his younger daughter to marry until his older daughter Katharina has married. In order to win Bianca, Lucentio not only has to get rid of competitors Hortensio and Gremio, but also to find a husband for the stubborn Katharina, in whom no man is interested. Then it happens that Petruchio, an old friend of Hortensio, appears and is looking for a rich match. Petruchio proves to be an equal opponent for Katharina in a verbal battle and explains to her that he will marry her whether she wants to or not (“will you, nill you, I will marry you”, II.i.263). Finally Katharina no longer contradicts when Petruchio says: "Kiss me, Kate, we will be married o´Sunday" (II.1.320). Petruchio demonstratively arrives late for the wedding and is noticeably badly dressed. He then takes his new wife into his house, where he withholds all the comforts of prosperity from her, out of pretended care for his newlyweds. After a few days in which Petruchio tries to tame her, Katharina has to admit defeat, whereupon Petruchio agrees to accompany her to Padua for Bianca's wedding. On the way, Petruchio says at noon how bright the moon is; When Katharina replies that the sun is shining, he refuses to continue the journey until Katharina admits that it is the moon. Finally Katharina gives in, whereupon Petruchio claims it is the sun.
Lucentio has meanwhile managed to win Bianca's heart and her father's approval with a few tricks. After this wedding the men bet at a banquet whose wife is most likely to obey her husband's call. All guests are amazed when Katharina proves to be the most obedient. The piece ends with a monologue by the formerly unruly, in which she sings the praise of the submissiveness of women.
In the epilogue of the storyline of the original version, Schlau fell asleep soundly again when the performance ended. The lord now orders the man to be put back on the street in front of the restaurant, where he finally wakes up to stumble home to his wife, who will “ read the riot act ” for him.
Literary templates and cultural references
The three different storylines that Shakespeare links together in his comedy are based on separate sources and templates, all of which have a long narrative tradition.
The background story to the drunken tinker Sly who is being treated by a higher brave courtiers for fun of the Castle when he awakes from his intoxication, and the real comedy is presented, including a popular motif that already in the 1001 Arabian Nights takes . It has been handed down in numerous ballads and is later taken up again, for example in Gerhart Hauptmann's comedy Schluck und Jau (1899).
The taming of the scratchy Katharina by Petruccio is based on a motif that has been popular since the Middle Ages, which has been repeatedly taken up and played through not only in England but also in Northern Europe for male delight in ever new variations. So there were tons of ballads in England such as A Merry Jest of a Shrewed and Cursed Wife (around 1550), stories and jokes about the shrew , a quarrelsome and rebellious woman or a "woman devil".
In the pre-Shakespeare tradition, however, unlike in Shakespeare's comedy , the type of shrew is always embodied by a quarrelsome wife and not by an unmarried girl. In contrast to Shakespeare's play, the husband tries in these traditional representations to get his way through extremely brutal beatings and physical violence. For example, the quarrelsome wife in A Merry Jest is beaten up by her husband and wrapped in the skins of a dead horse.
The subplot about Bianca and her three suitors, on the other hand, is more of a literary tradition and is based in part on the comedy The Supposes (1566) by George Gascoigne , the plot of which, however, was significantly modified by Shakespeare. Gascoigne's work is in turn a translation and adaptation of the comedy I Suppositi (1509) by Ludovico Ariosto .
In his play, Shakespeare uses the literary motif of the supposes , which Gascoigne had defined as the “misunderstanding or imagining one thing for another”, above all to thematically interweave the three different subplots and different storylines.
Ultimately, those actions about young men, their love intrigues or their arguments with their fathers can be traced back to the Roman comedy writer Plautus , whose works were widespread in the Elizabethan era and known as school reading in the educated classes.
Text and dating
Given the current state of the discussion, The Taming of the Shrew in Shakespeare research is generally regarded as one of Shakespeare's early comedies, regardless of the problem of precisely dating the genesis of the work, and is usually classified in a group with The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Comedy of Errors .
All modern editions of The Taming of the Shrew are based on the first print in the folio edition of 1623, which was probably based on either a draft version of Shakespeare or a transcription of his foul papers provisionally edited for theater use . The manuscript used for the folio print had obviously been edited in different places for the theater work, which can be recognized, for example, by the addition of actor names instead of the names of the characters.
An exact date of the creation of the work is still questionable, as the history of the tradition of the piece has not yet been clearly clarified. Such an explanation of the genesis is made more difficult by the fact that there is a similar comedy that appeared anonymously in 1594, almost thirty years before the folio edition. This work, without an author's name, bears the almost identical title The Taming of a Shrew and also contains different similarities in content and structure. The action takes place in Athens and most of the characters have a different name; nevertheless the same three sub-stories are combined, albeit with a dramatic structure in a much more primitive form. The dialogues also have the same wording in various places, but are generally formulated independently of one another.
There is undeniably a close connection between these two pieces; From today's perspective, however, the exact nature of the relationship and the relationship between the two works cannot be determined clearly or with sufficient certainty. In principle, three possible hypotheses can be drawn up, which have been represented in different variants in the history of research to date:
(1) A Shrew is a precursor to Shakespeare's The Shrew , either written by another author or written by Shakespeare himself in a younger age;
(2) Despite the earlier date of publication, A Shrew is a derivative version of The Shrew , possibly a reconstruction from memory, thus a kind of bad quarto in which larger parts were rewritten;
(3) the two pieces go back to a lost common original version.
In contrast to earlier Shakespeare scholars, who followed the first hypothesis and thus dated the creation of the work to the period after 1594, the more recent research tends predominantly to see The Shrew as the source for A Shrew .
On the basis of other criteria and accompanying circumstances, today's Shakespeare researchers assume that The Taming of the Shrew was created around or before 1593, around 1592, although some things remain questionable.
The Taming of the Shrew is considered a work that has a general reputation in literary scholarship and criticism for being easier to play than read. Usually this is to be understood as a careful distancing from the content of the piece, although it touches on an essential aspect. The dramaturgical construction and the theatrical effectiveness of this play are mostly assessed as outstanding within the early Shakespeare comedies. Despite their close intermeshing, the main and sub-plot run independently, but complementary and contrasting. Thematically, the different storylines not only deal with different forms of advertising, but also offer diverse forms of theater enjoyment. The complex plot about Bianca contains a number of intrigues, tricks and astonishing twists, while the taming plot, on the other hand, is comparatively simple.
While the comedies of the time primarily focused on the confrontations between two dramatic characters for the audience, in The Taming of the Shrew the conclusion is presented not only as a usually foreseeable implementation of the preceding harmonization tendencies, but through a bet of the three young husbands as well as the inclusion of all people in the end turned into a “small drama”. What happens in the stage characters or between them is not so much expressed primarily through verbal utterances, but rather implemented in vivid actions. Against this background, the theater history of the play is a continuous success story; Even in the early days, this play was well known, which is already attested by numerous allusions and quotations in other contemporary plays. This popularity was subsequently used extensively by various imitators or continuers.
Subsequent performances of The Taming of the Shrew were almost without exception brought to the stage in an updated form, but not as historicizing productions or as classics, and not only in modern performances in which Petruccio rides a motorcycle or the young people in Padua in wearing jeans in anachronistic form. Longer than all other Shakespeare comedies, the play was played almost exclusively in arrangements or adaptations until the middle of the 19th century, which accentuated what the respective epoch felt to be particularly effective in the theater. In the second half of the 17th century, for example, the play was presented in a stage version that placed the gaudy in the foreground of the staging. From the middle of the 18th century, performance practice at that time was dominated by David Garrick's arrangement Catherine and Petruccio , who in their version placed the emphasis primarily on the act of taming.
Regardless of the continuous success of the play in the history of theater and its numerous adaptations in the theater industry, this Shakespeare comedy has generally become a “problem play” from the point of view of literary studies and criticism since the late 19th century and the beginning of the women's movement.
In the history of the reception of the work, criticism of the misogynous plot elements and tendencies of the play was loudly voiced for the first time as early as the end of the 18th century, and doubts were voiced, for example, by E. Griffins as early as 1775 as to whether the unconditional obedience propagated by Katharina at the end of the drama was morally justifiable. Even if one understands that Kate's submission speech, with which she lets Petruccio win his bet, is that she should only play the submissive tamed with a wink and ironic, this would still be the man's game, that is, his patriarchal authority would remain untouched. In the same way, GB Shaw described Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew in 1897 as the most embarrassing "of the Lord-of-Creation morality of wagering". From then on, in the further literary-historical reception of the work, the criticism was in particular the criticism of Petruchio's roughness and vulgarity in dealing with Kate, which, from the point of view of the critics, clearly proves that in principle the doctrine of the absolute rule of man in the end still applies. Above all, Petruchio's claim to the woman as possession: “I will be master of what is mine own. / She is my goods, my chattels, my field, my barn, / My horse, my ox, my ass, my any thing " (II, 2,229-232) and Katharina's sermon on the woman's duty of submission (V, 2, 136-179) have since then been consistently viewed as highly offensive in the subsequent recent literary scholarly discussion and criticism up to the present day.
On the basis of these obviously misogynous passages, which cannot be disputed in the text of the work, the history of the literary-critical reception of the work, according to Suerbaum, can actually only be understood to this day as an attempt to apologetically justify the parts of the work that are considered to be absolutely problematic or contestable strategies of justification differing according to historical epoch. An early, quite simple strategy consisted in questioning Shakespeare's authorship, as with other problematic or unpopular works, or at least denying him sole responsibility as the author. In addition, arguments have been put forward in this regard in historical research that the husband's position in the family was viewed as an analogue to royal rule in Shakespeare's time , whereby Petruchio's non-violent taming of Kate can therefore be interpreted as progress in the historical context.
In the 20th century, on the other hand, Petruchio's actions and sayings were often viewed or interpreted as farce-like slapstick or exaggeration, although the genre of the farce in Elizabethan drama did not yet exist as an independent genre .
In more recent publications, two other strategies of reinterpreting the objectionable passages are mainly pursued, on the one hand by emphasizing the role play in the stage company (i.e. Petruchio and Katharina disguise themselves and therefore only play a certain role without being essentially like that ). On the other hand, a second strategy of reinterpretation or reinterpretation in the more recent criticism refers to Katharina's development from an outsider disreputed as a shrew to an integrated personality, which would mean that Petruchio is no longer to be seen exclusively as a tamer or conqueror of Kate, but could can also be understood as a kind of therapist who helps her to find herself.
The tendency of the interpretation affirming the piece, however, remains apologetic here too; playing with Petruchio's macho acts or actions and sayings undeniably has to do with sexism ; According to Suerbaum, The Taming of the Shrew is “a man's fantasy, one that both briskly and subversively subverts its own claim”.
In the classic German Shakespeare edition, the Schlegel - Tieck translation, The Taming of the Shrew appeared in 1831 in the translation by Wolf Heinrich Graf von Baudissin . There are newer, contemporary translations. a. by Erich Fried , Frank Günther and Anna Cron . Günther and Cron took into account the original version, which was originally awarded to Robert Greene . In it, the framework story with the drunken smart man appears not only as a prologue, but also as an epilogue. The drinker wakes up in front of the pub he was previously thrown out of. This puts the "taming" into perspective. She could be a drunk man's dream.
- Total expenditure
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- Jonathan Bate , Eric Rasmussen (Eds.): William Shakespeare Complete Works. The RSC Shakespeare , Macmillan Publishers 2008, ISBN 978-0-230-20095-1
- Harold James Oliver (Ed.): The Taming of the Shrew. The Oxford Shakespeare. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1984, ISBN 0-19-281440-0 .
- Barbara Hodgdon (Ed.): The Taming of the Shrew. The Arden Shakespeare: Third Series. Bloomsbury, London 2010, ISBN 978-1-903436-93-6 .
- Thomas Rüetschi (Ed.): William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew. English-German study edition. Stauffenburg, Tübingen 1988, ISBN 3-86057-550-3 .
- Frank Günther (Ed.): William Shakespeare: The unruly taming. Bilingual edition. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 2009 Munich, ISBN 978-3-423-12750-9 .
- Michael Dobson , Stanley Wells : The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. Oxford University Press, 2001, 2nd rev. Edition 2015, ISBN 978-0-19-870873-5 .
- Rainer Lengeler: The Taming of the Shrew. In: Interpretations · Shakespeare's Dramas. Reclam 2000, ISBN 3-15-017513-5 , pp. 9-37.
- Ina Schabert (Ed.): Shakespeare Handbook. Time, man, work, posterity. 5th, revised and supplemented edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 .
- Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide. 3rd rev. Edition. Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 .
- Stanley Wells, Gary Taylor : William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion. corrected new edition. Oxford 1997, ISBN 0-393-31667-X .
- Cf. Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook. Kröner, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , pp. 387f. and Michael Dobson , Stanley Wells : The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. Oxford University Press, 2001, 2nd rev. Edition 2015, ISBN 978-0-19-870873-5 , s. 343.
- Cf. Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook. Kröner, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , pp. 387f. and Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide. 3rd rev. Edition. Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , p. 91f. See also Michael Dobson , Stanley Wells : The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. Oxford University Press, 2001, 2nd rev. Edition 2015, ISBN 978-0-19-870873-5 , p. 343.
- See Michael Dobson , Stanley Wells : The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. Oxford University Press, 2001, 2nd rev. Edition 2015, ISBN 978-0-19-870873-5 , p. 343 and Ulrich Suerbaum : Der Shakespeare-Führer. 3rd rev. Edition. Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , p. 91f. See also Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook. Kröner, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , p. 388.
- Cf. Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide. 3rd rev. Edition. Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , p. 90.
- Cf. Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook. Kröner, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , p. 387, and Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide. 3rd rev. Edition. Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , p. 92. See also Michael Dobson , Stanley Wells : The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. Oxford University Press, 2001, 2nd rev. 2015 edition, ISBN 978-0-19-870873-5 , p. 343, and Stanley Wells, Gary Taylor : William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion. corrected new edition. Oxford 1997, ISBN 0-393-31667-X , p. 169
- See in more detail the Introduction by Barbara Hodgdon to the by her ed. Edition of The Taming of the Shrew , The Arden Shakespeare: Third Series. Bloomsbury, London 2010, ISBN 978-1-903436-93-6 , pp. 19f., And Ulrich Suerbaum : Der Shakespeare-Führer. 3rd rev. Edition. Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , pp. 92f.
- Cf. Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide. 3rd rev. Edition. Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , pp. 92f. See also Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook. Kröner, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , p. 387. See also Michael Dobson , Stanley Wells : The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. Oxford University Press, 2001, 2nd rev. 2015 edition, ISBN 978-0-19-870873-5 , p. 343, and Stanley Wells, Gary Taylor : William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion. corrected new edition. Oxford 1997, ISBN 0-393-31667-X , pp. 169ff.
- See Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide. 3rd rev. Edition. Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , pp. 93ff. In this regard, see the detailed explanations in Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook. Kröner, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , p. 388 ff.
- In the German translation by Wolf Heinrich von Baudissin this passage reads: “I want to be the master of my property: | She is my estate, is my house and yard, | My home appliance, my field, my barn, | My horse, my ox, my donkey, in short my everything ”. See the online text edition at Zeno.org on  .
- See Ina Schabert: Shakespeare Handbuch, 2009, p. 388 ff .; see also Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide. 3rd rev. Edition. Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , pp. 95 ff.
- Cf. Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide. 3rd rev. Edition. Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , p. 95 ff. See also Ina Schabert: Shakespeare Handbuch, 2009, p. 388 ff.
- See Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide. 3rd rev. Edition. Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , p. 96. For more recent approaches to an interpretation of Petruchio's misogenic appearance in his re-education, see also Rainer Lengeler: The Tamining of the Shrew. In: Interpretations · Shakespeares Dramen, Reclam 2000 (reprint 2010), pp. 9–37, especially pp. 10 ff, 15 ff, 20 ff and 23 ff. In his analysis of the history of reception, Lengeler also goes into various attempts at affirmative interpretation of Kate's behavior in the “taming process”. On the misogenic statements and elements of the work, see in detail the description in the introduction to the Arden edition of the work by Barbara Hodgdon (ed.): The Taming of the Shrew. The Arden Shakespeare: Third Series. Bloomsbury, London 2010, ISBN 978-1-903436-93-6 , here for example pp. 92ff, 98f., 111ff. or 120 f. Cf. also, to name just a few additional sources in this context, Hans-Dieter Gelfert : William Shakespeare in his time. Munich 2014, 269 ff. Or Michael Dobson and Stanley Wells : The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. Second Edition, Oxford University Press 2015, pp. 343 and 346 f.