Otázka: The Taming of the Shrew – William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was born on 23 April 1564 in Stratford upon Avon, the town in the central England. When he was seven he went to the local grammar school for boys. He was only 18 years old when he met and fell in love with Anne Hathaway. She was eight years older than him. It didn’t last long, they got married and had 3 children. Most of his life he spent in London. At this time he was writing and acting for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men at the Globe Theatre. Shakespeare became very successful, so he bought the Globe Theatre. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories and these works remain regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres even today like A Midsummer-night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew and As You Like It. He then wrote mainly tragedies including Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and Macbeth. For the most part his writings were influenced by Ovidus. During his life he wrote at least 37 plays and 154 sonnets. He died on his birthday in 1616 at the age of 52, although at the end of his life he moved back to Stratford upon Avon and bought back his old house. All in all, William Shakespeare was a British writer, poet and the world’s preeminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the Bard of Avon.
The Taming of the Shrew
The name of the book, I’ve read, is The Taming of the Shrew. There are a few main characters. Katherina, the shrew, (The word “shrew” means a bad-tempered or aggressively assertive woman), Bianca, Katherina’s sister, Petruchio – suitor of Katherina, Lucentio and Gremio, Bianca’s suirors.
Katherina Minola is the eldest daughter of Baptista Minola, a lord in Padua. Katherina’s temper is notorious and it is thought no man would ever wish to marry her. On the other hand, two men – Hortensio and Gremio – are eager to marry her younger sister Bianca. However, Baptista has sworn not to allow his younger daughter to marry before Katherina is wed. But there is Petruchio who hasn’t given it up. Petruchio woos her with reverse psychology, pretending that every harsh thing she says or does is kind and gentle. Katherina allows herself to become engaged to Petruchio. They are married in a farcical ceremony during which (amongst other things) he strikes the priest and drinks the communion wine. After that he takes her home against her will. There „the taming“ begins. In the background we can see Lucentio‘s fight for Bianca’s heart. Katherina is refused food and clothing because nothing from Petruchio is good enough for her so he claims perfectly cooked meat is overcooked, a beautiful dress doesn’t fit right, and a stylish hat is not fashionable. He also sets about disagreeing with everything she says and forcing her to agree with everything he says, no matter how absurd. At the end of the play, Katherina gives a speech on the subject of why wives should always obey their husbands and the play ends with Baptista, Hortensio and Lucentio marvelling at how successfully Petruchio has tamed the shrew.
In my opinion is The Taming of the Shrew the best option I could choose. It’s really funny how the characters play with words. But if I had to compare that with other books, I had read, I would say, that this type of literature is nothing for me because I fancy more action and imagination. Although I recommend that for everyone who like classical comedy.
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