Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Can a shrew really be tamed?


Today in Senior English, we just about finished reading Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Yet, we found that as we approached the resolution of the novel, we weren't quite certain whether or not the conflict was truly resolved. Toward the end, Katherine delivers a powerful monologue in which she outlines how exactly women are supposed to behave--contradicting everything we have previously believed about her character. This presented a dilemma: do we believe that Katherine was indeed successfully tamed and her speech was one-hundred percent genuine? Or do we believe that Katherine was as acting as shrewish as ever, using wit and sarcasm to mock those who believed she had been tamed. Unfortunately, we will never truly know what Shakespeare intended for the audience to believe. Scholars of Shakespeare continuously argue over this--still a shrew, or truly tamed? To shrew, or not to shrew? That is the question...

Ms. Ferry read the monologue as a tamed woman, and I, (Ms. Audy), read the same monologue as the shrew. In order to figure out which representation our class believed in more, everyone was given two sticky notes on which they would write down 'shrew' or 'tamed' and some reasoning as to how they came about their beliefs. Everyone also used quotes from the text to further validate their arguments. After all this, Ms. Ferry and I, revealed our lovely visual representations of a 'tame' woman and 'shrew.'

Each person, then had a chance to share what he or she had written down. Afterwards, we stuck the stickies on the appropriate picture, to get an idea of how our classroom was divided. Unfortunately, we too were unable to agree upon which representation made more sense.

The original monologue, as well as the No-Fear-Shakespeare version are available in full text here.

-Ms. Audy

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