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last, and rough as he is and rudely accoutred she marries him notwithstanding, and no declared and obstinate opposition do we hear of until they are surely tied. Then for the first time resistance openly appears; she will stay for the bridal dinner will he or not, and now the true conAict and the taming begins. The moral of the contest proves merely this, that with equal spirit and determination on either side, the balance of physical power, of muscular strength, of capability of watching, of fasting, of enduring fatigue, so far preponderate on the side of the husband that the weaker sex has no chance in a protracted opposition and must ultimately be wearied and tired out. The matter however does not rest there; if we might apply the moral of the tale generally, Shakespeare would be an authority to back the adage :
“A spaniel, a woman, and walnut tree,
The more you beat them the better they be.” Katharina at last does not remain in mere compelled obedience; her very spirit is subdued to the quality of natural subordination. With spaniel-like subservience she now turns on Hortensio's widow, when she hints that Petruchio is not absolute, and at last delivers a homily with no hint of insincerity, on the law of nature as illustrative of feminine subjugation
“Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Should well agree with our external parts ? '
Petruchio is like Faulconbridge in making himself out worse than he really is. Though he declares his object
is only to wive wealthily, and Grumio says he 'd marry any foul old hag with money, yet this is plain exaggeration. He's one of those men who like a bit of devil in the
a girl he marries and the mare he rides.
None of your namby-pamby ones for me.” He knows he can tame her: if she is sharp-tempered, he is sharper. It's a word and a blow with him, as Grumio has experienced. When he hears of Kate, he won't sleep till he sees her; when she comes, he takes the lead and keeps it. He means to have it and her. He ridicules her in such a pleasant, madcap fashion, that one can 't help liking him. He understands women, and flatters her. Note the limping touch. He praises her beauty; promises her finery; keeps her waiting; makes her put up with his dress, and tremble at church; outs with his sword and makes her go with him; declares his wife's his chattel; leaves her horse on her when she falls during the journey, and makes her beg for Grumio; will give no choleric food to choleric folk; in fact he " kills her in her own humour"; tames her by pretended love; starves her till she thanks him for meat he's dressed; and then when her food has made her saucy, and she rebels again about her dress (which was indeed enough to make the most angelic woman's temper rise), he beats her in the old way by pretending to sympathize with her. Then he stops her going home, because she won't say two is seven. When she gives in, he no doubt tries her too hardly, but then she has tried him before, and the result is that they two alone are married, while the other two, Hortensio and Lucentio, are only "sped." (“Let us hope though," says Miss Constance O'Brien,
that Petruchio gave up choosing Kate's dresses and caps.") If Petruchio is not a gentleman, and Kate not a lady, their day differed from ours: they were a happy couple, we may be sure. Kate would obey him with a. will, for her husband had fairly beaten her at her own game, and won her respect.
FURNIVALL: The Leopold Shakspere.
The Subordinate Parts.
The subordinate parts of the play—the intrigues of Bianca's suitors against one another, the love affairs of Gremio, of Hortensio and the widow, of Lucentio and Bianca—are, as already remarked, but very loosely interwoven with the main action, and thus stand opposed to it in the form of a second, independent half. This is a defect which Shakspeare could, indeed, not very well have avoided unless he meant entirely to change the old play. And yet upon a closer examination there are nevertheless indications which point to the fundamental motive of the whole, and thus connect the subordinate portions with the principal part. A character like Katharina can be accounted for only by her having received an entirely wrong education, and a false mode of treatment; the father of such a daughter must have wholly misunderstood his position as a father, and, in place of ruling his house with paternal strictness and manly authority, must have abandoned himself to effeminacy and weakness. And this is precisely what good old Baptista appears to have done, for although he makes no secret of his daughter's faults he does not even attempt to correct them. Vincentio also, to judge from the little we see of the development of his character, must have suffered from a similar weakness, otherwise Lucentio, his light-headed son, would not have so entirely forgotten all filial duty and respect towards him as to venture to pass off a ridiculous pedant as his own father, merely to promote his own interests; and Vincentio himself would not have permitted his son to be accompanied by servants equally inconsiderate of their position as servants. Gremio, the old suitor, is very rightly outwitted and made laughing-stock for forgetting his years and becoming the rival of a spirited youth for the love of a pretty girl. Lastly, Lucentio and Hortensio lose their wager against Petruchio, and are deservedly put to shame for perpetually playing the part of devoted and obsequious lovers, and thus losing sight of the seriousness of their position as men, and their dignity as husbands, accordingly, for having likewise placed themselves in a false and unbecoming position.
ULRICI: Shakespeare's Dramatic Art.
The critics have been very warm and unanimous in praise of Shakespeare's Induction, some, however, wondering and regretting that he did not keep it up to the end of the play, others suspecting that he did so keep it up, but that the continuation has been lost. We are otherwise minded, being convinced that in this as in other things the Poet was wiser than his critics. For the purpose of the Induction was but to start an interest in the play; and he probably knew that such interest, once started, would be rather hindered than set forward by any comings-in of other matter; that there would be no time to think of Sly amidst such a whirlwind of oddities and whimsicalities as he was going to raise. Nevertheless, the regret in question well approves the goodness of the thing; for the better the thing, the more apt men are to think they have not enough until they have too much of it.
As to the Induction itself, we confess with Hazlitt, that if forced to give up this or the play we should be not a little puzzled to choose. But then this, no doubt, is partly because the play, though abounding in well-aimed theatrical hits, is one of comparatively little merit. The Induction is wonderfully stuffed with meat, and that, too, of the most savoury quality; the free, varied transpiration of character crowded into it is literally prodigious for so small a space. And yet how the whole thing swims in a stream of the most racy and delicate humour! and therewithal has a light aerial grace, touched occasionally with the richest colours of poetry, hovering over it; all, together, making it one of the most expressive and delectable things we shall anywhere find.
The two plots of the play, as Johnson observes, are skilfully interwoven, so as to give a wide variety of comic incident, without running into perplexity. And such variety was the more needful here, forasmuch as the interest turns in a very unusual degree upon the incidents; though the thought and speech are everywhere sprightly and brisk enough. For if the dialogue seldom rise to poetry, it never becomes vapid and flat, these being qualities of which Shakespeare was hardly capable. As to Bianca and the proceedings of her suitors, they seem of little consequence anyway save as helping to make up an agreeable variety of matter. Bianca apparently has not force of character enough to do anything wrong, else she had probably been as naughty as her sister.
HUDSON: The Works of Shakespeare.
Shakespeare and His Original,
The refined instinct, artistic judgement, and consummate taste of Shakespeare were perhaps never so wonderfully shown as in his recast of another man's work, a man of real if rough genius of comedy—which we get in The Taming of the Shrew. Only the collation of scene with scene, then of speech with speech, then of line with line, will show how much may be borrowed from a stranger's material and how much may be added to it by the same stroke of a single hand. All the force and humour alike of character and situation belong to Shakespeare's eclipsed and forlorn precursor; he has added nothing; he has tempered and enriched everything. That