Customer Reviews


124 Reviews
5 star:
 (64)
4 star:
 (33)
3 star:
 (13)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (10)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever and witty play
Of all of Shakespeare's plays that I have read, this is the most enjoyable. The characters are real and engaging - the sweetly stupid Bianca and her hoard of suitors, Baptista, who is more interested in selling his daughters to rich husbands than making them happy, the sly and masterful Petruchio, and most of all, Katherine, the Shrew. The play is full of action,...
Published on June 30, 2000 by S. N. Harris

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars date of publication is misleading
I was looking for a recently edited scholarly edition of Taming of the Shrew, and found this New Cambridge Shakespeare edition listed by Amazon as a 2003 publication. Only after I received it did I discover that this is the 1984 edition minimally updated. Lots has happened in the Shakespeare world since 1984. I would never have ordered this book had Amazon indicated that...
Published on January 21, 2013 by Barbara Mowat


‹ Previous | 1 213 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever and witty play, June 30, 2000
Of all of Shakespeare's plays that I have read, this is the most enjoyable. The characters are real and engaging - the sweetly stupid Bianca and her hoard of suitors, Baptista, who is more interested in selling his daughters to rich husbands than making them happy, the sly and masterful Petruchio, and most of all, Katherine, the Shrew. The play is full of action, comedy, and enough mistaken and hidden identities to keep the reader happily confused.
Katherine, who appears to be "tamed" by Petruchio's cruelties, learns the art of subtlety and diplomacy that will enable her to survive in a society ruled by men. Her speech in the last scene is not a humbling affirmation of the superiority of men, but a tounge-in-cheek ridicule of Petruchio, Lucentio, and Hortensio, who think that a woman can be tamed like a wild animal by a few days of bumbling controll.
The Folger Library of Shakespeare's plays are the most readable editions that I have seen. There are detailed side notes and definitions of unfamiliar words, which are perfect for the reader who is not familiar with Shakespearean English.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kiss me Kate, we will be married o' Sunday, August 1, 2010
"The Taming of the Shrew" is probably William Shakespeare's second most controversial play -- nobody can figure out if it's misogynistic or a biting double satire on the sexes. Whatever it is, it's still a witty and hilarious comedy that pits the titular "shrew" against a crazy guy determined to browbeat her into traditional subservience... and while they're no Beatrice and Benedick, it is lots of fun.

Framing device: a local lord and his hunting party stumble across a drunken tinker, and decide to play an elaborate prank on him. They dress him in rich clothes, arrange fine food for him, and even drag a protesting servant boy in to pretend to be his wife. And they put on a performance for him as well: Baptista Minola has two daughters, the hot-tempered razor-tongued Katharina and the quiet, demure Bianca.

Since Bianca is not allowed to marry until Katharina is, her suitors form an alliance to get the elder sister out of the way, which is made more complex when a young student named Luciento falls in love with Bianca, and comes up with a clever plan to woo her. Enter Petruchio, an impoverished nobleman with as sharp a wit as Katharina -- and since he's the only one willing to marry her, her father jumps on the chance. From the very beginning, Petruchio beats her over the head with crazy reverse psychology, a ridiculous wedding ceremony, and a honeymoon from hell.

It's often debated whether "The Taming of the Shrew" is a sexist play or not, since the strong-willed, independent Katharina ends up another little obedient wifie, lecturing the other wives on giving their husbands "love, fair looks and true obedience." Blech.

But consider: this speech comes from a woman who, after years of intimidating the men around her, has been browbeaten, emotionally abused and humiliated until her boorish hubby finally "breaks" her... not exactly a rousing celebration of "the taming of the shrew," or of Petruchio! If anything, Shakespeare seems to be hinting that women should be subtle about their rebellion (as Bianca is) rather than broadcasting it to the world... and perhaps that is what the "shrew" had really learned.

And as usual, Shakespeare wraps the play in delicious wordplay ("You lie, in faith; for you are call'd plain Kate,/And bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst"), weird situations (the ridiculous wedding), and an farcical romantic tangle centering on Bianca. And Shakespeare has some fun with the framing device about Christopher Sly -- while the lord is being a jerk, the whole situation is just so hilarious that it's impossible not to enjoy it.

And the characters are pretty fun as well, even when you want to kick them in the backside -- Katharina is delightfully witty, bombastic and very intimidating, and Petruchio is a hilarious, witty jerk who knows just how to counter her. Bianca seems like a subservient doormat at first, but Shakespeare hints that (in her own way) she's just as rebellious as Katharina, unbeknownst to her clownish admirers and her worn-out dad.

"The Taming of the Shrew" seems like a pretty offensive piece until you see all the little barbs sticking out of the surface. Really uncomfortable, and truly brilliant.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hilarious play of the battle between the sexes., May 24, 2007
This play is one of Shakespeare's most ribald, but I enjoyed it just the same. It's lusty, earthy and somewhat farcical. It's a very popular play because it is funny and fast-moving. And Shakespeare's wordplay is at its best here. I defy anyone not to laugh out loud numerously as they read this play. It is wonderful!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and well constructed, March 8, 2000
If I had not been spoiled by Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors," this could very well have been my favorite comedy. It is comical that the 2 rival suitors for Bianca are able to work together to get Kate married somehow so as to free the "seemingly sweet" Bianca for possible marriage. Petruchio (Kate's eventual husband) offers us a comical passage in 2.1. Another humorous aspect of this play is all the alias identities. Lucentio alias Cambio, Tranio alias Lucentio, and Pedant alias Vincentio. I can not overemphasize Shakespeare's brilliance when all seems well. Towards the end, Petruchio and Kate seem to be doing fine and Lucentio and Bianca will marry. But leave it to Shakespeare. Vincentio (Lucentio's father) goes to visit his son only to be locked out of his son's house by Pedant alias Vincentio. This hilarious scene is such a perfect climatic point. We are exposed to comedy and tension simultaneously when the play suddenly becomes violent. But leave it to Shakespeare to reconcile everyone and end the play with all of the characters including Vincentio and Pedant alias Vincentio enjoying a merry feast!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oxford World's Classics is the best choice for Shakespeare, February 16, 2004
By 
R. Rockwell (Brooklyn, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There are many reviews of the play below,, so I am reviewing this particular edition of tthe play. As someone reading all of Shakespeare for the second time, I am always alble to learn something from the World's Classics introduction. They are scolarly and complete and the text always has footnotes on the same page. I have tried other editions but these are the best.
The Taming of the Shrew although it does contain episodes that are misogynistic to modern ears does portray a couple truly in love. As an early play Shakespeare is beginning to find his own voice.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare's funniest farce., September 12, 2001
'The Taming of the Shrew' is Shakespeare's most purely enjoyable play, especially in the theatre. Its language is easy to understand, with very little of the elaborate figures that can be difficult to follow on stage; the plot, with various suitors vying for the hands of sisters beautiful Bianca and shrewish Katerina, a web of disguises and mistaken identities, with servants pretending to be masters and vice versa, is pure bawdy farce. this fluidity of social roles is quite subversive - fixed hierarchies are shown to be merely a case of good acting.
Formally, 'Taming' is one of Shakespeare's most audacious, as a play-withing-a-play-within-the-play - it starts with an aristorcrat and his servant playing a joke on a drunken peasant, by making him believe he is a lord; the play put on for him, 'The Taming of the Shrew', is full of comic and thematic echoes of this framing plot, in thich the servant dresses as the peasant's noble wife. Within this play, characters play roles and stage plays for various unwitting audiences.
for all its entertainment and brilliance, however, 'Taming' has always been one of Shakesepeare's most notoriously uncomfortable plays - we are asked to watch the subduing of a strong, vocal, witty, satirical, indepedent woman by a bullying braggart. There are moments within the general sneering, when we are allowed sympathise with Kate in her loneliness and feelings of being made the butt of abuse and jokes, but it is difficult to watch scenes with a gang of men holding the stage, deciding the fate of the women.
Shakespeare's cunning text leaves plenty of room to displace the misogyny - as a play-within-a-play, 'Taming' can be seen as reflecting a smarmy nobleman's assumptions rather than Shakespeare's; the knowledge that in Shakespeare's day, all female roles were played by males can ironise what seems an oppressively gendered work.
In a production I recently saw in Galway's Town Hall Theatre, the gender roles were reversed, and the doubling of parts provocative, taking cues from the framing play - this transformed 'Taming' into a miraculous precursor to 'Some Like it hot', with gender stereotypes overplayed to reveal that gender is, mostly, stereotype.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Archieve the elder, set the younger free.", September 7, 2005
Unlike any other Shakespeare's plays, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW has an induction, which lives up to its name in the sense that the prologue scene does indeed lead into the play that follows. It seems likely that Shakespeare had adopted the device from medieval narrative poetry, where it was extensively used to introduce a story in the form of a dream. In the induction, far more is involved than the mere setting of a scene and the informing to audience. In fact, Christopher Sly seems to have lapse into a dream as he is forced to adopt a new identity. The brief yet vigorous altercation between Sly and the hostess with which the induction begins is a curtain raiser for the dramatic struggle between Petruchio and Katherina that is to follow. Equally as significant is the Lord's instructions to his servant-boy as to the behavior he is to assume when he appears disguised as Sly's wife forebode the main theme of the play.

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW has a powerful appeal for the Elizabethan audience at the time it opened because the struggle for mastery in a marriage remained a fact of existence and hot topics for writers. A true-to-life domestic scene opens the play and instantly grasps attention: Signor Baptista forbids all suitors to court his younger daughter Bianca until he finds a husband for the ill-tempered, difficult, and waspish elder daughter Katherina. She is notorious for her hot temper, foul tongue, and caprice. Out of jealousy and the qualm not remaining single, she often vents out her anger on her sister. Suitors of the younger sister, who decide to put aside their rivalry, contrive to find a match for Katherina.

Gremio and Hortensio bear the cost of Petruchio's courting Katherina while Lucentio, who is madly in love with Bianca, and his crafty servant Tranio cunningly switch role to infiltrate the Baptista house. What inevitably follows is a facetious pursuit of love and a farcical melodrama that culminate in a riotously funny final scene in which Lucentio's real father, who has no clue of his son's betrothal, confronts the pedant-disguised impostor who reverse-accuses him of a charlatan. Equally as clueless of the entire crafty scheme is Baptista whom the suitors have tricked and outmaneuvered. He is consistently mistaken about everything and everybody, so that he does not even understand why Bianca later asks for his forgiveness. He and Vincentio are merely the butts for all the intrigues that go on throughout the play.

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW maintains an irresistible appeal among the comedies owing to the intriguing trickery with which characters rival for courtship. Just as suspenseful and entertaining is Petruchio's calculated, punctilious campaign to tame his wife. His line of attack is psychological, although persuasive words carefully planned for each step accompany his actions. He somehow outsmarts his wife and deliberately outdoes her in his perversity and bad temper. The quintessential spleen of tantrum flourishes in the scenes in which Petruchio abuses his servants and tailor. His being abusive, tyrannical, violent, and capricious functions more than a reflection - it is evident of a caricature of Katherina through an exaggerated parody of her wild behavior. His evaluation of her mind is confirmed by her softening and surrender for she welcomes the opportunity of meeting an antagonist who will put up a good fight.

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW is highly rhetorical (even more so than AS YOU LIKE IT). Whether it is Petruchio's aggressive, vituperative taming or the milder courting of Bianca, the play never lacks an elite style with which Shakespeare exploited language to a linguistic virtuosity. For example, Petruchio's taming distinguishes from the usual method that might involve violence. What differentiate his campaign are the subtlety, the sophistication, and the ingenuity of his conceiving of Katherina's mind. His perspicacious mind justifies the use of highly rhetorical, puny, and literary discourse that somehow alienates the ordinary speech in the play and paradoxically brings in a fuller, more intimate possession of his witty scheme.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mending a jaded heart, November 5, 2008
By 
In Dante's Inferno those deepest in hell are those that can not accept love because they are too suspicious of the actions of others; they think of love as a con-job waiting to happen. Petruchio plays games that save Kathrina's heart, she accepts love, this tough love/ cruel to be kind method, and a sort of miracle happens and Petruchio fully deserves his reward. Petruchio did more than win Kate's love he saved her soul. Bianca suffers from an almost equally deadly disease, vanity, but will there be someone to save her from that? Highly doubtful and now she is the shrew and her husband, Lucentio, can expect a life of dread and discomfiture for being the overly lusty boy he was.

Much of Shakespeare is other than what it seems. Katharina has a cynical, jaded heart one that distrusts the idea of love, one that can not accept love, after being raised in a house where her father openly prefers her younger sister and her younger sister is paraded as the glimmering child of promise Katharina's heart has been drug through the mud.

Shakespeare read Ovid and alludes often to Ovid's idea that a happy marriage (if it exists at all) is between equals. Petruchio shows Kate through his unyielding efforts that he loves her, much of this strategy is to shine a mirror back in Katharina's face through his actions so she can see herself more clearly. Petruchio is her equal. Love is gained when Katharina takes over Petruchio's game herself and plays with Petruchio at it, but it is a loving game, being mean while saying that she loves him like he did; Petruchio's stubborness pays off and the words grow to mean what they say to both of them. Love takes time and commitment, it is a labor. Petruchio also convinces Katharina that he is willing to put his house in a caotic mess for her love.

Gremio never seeks to meet his equal in either looks nor wealth and got what Ovid would probably call a natural consequence.

Does anybody really doubt that the relationship between Petruchio and Kathrina will be of equals and loving? Gremio and Lucentio are set up for dread, they did not set out to find their equals. In a sense it is a tragedy for Lucentio because he fell to lust not to his studies and got what he deserved.

The comparison of dogs, particularly three dogs, at the beginning is interesting. Analogy: Dog is to nose, as single man is to woo-ing. Three men go about wooing and sniffing out the heart. The hunter's observations about each dog comes full circle.

Christopher Sly? Why, he is you.

The movie version with Richard Burton is very lively and enjoyable. It fails to probe the depth of the play yet still does do it justice. The Taming of the Shrew

The BBC version, which has the hopeful quality of having John Cleese in it, failed miserably. I think it lacked direction and sputered all over the place. I still felt sorry for Petruchio even in the winning of this Kate, but it was worse than even that and John Cleese was not a good match for this charactor Taming of the Shrew- tThe Comedies, Histories and Tragedies of William Shakespeare
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful for studying, March 7, 2008
I am a college student and this really helped me study for my class. It goes by the book, doesn't skip anything major, and really helps you sort out/define characters.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars date of publication is misleading, January 21, 2013
By 
Barbara Mowat (Washington, DC, US) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was looking for a recently edited scholarly edition of Taming of the Shrew, and found this New Cambridge Shakespeare edition listed by Amazon as a 2003 publication. Only after I received it did I discover that this is the 1984 edition minimally updated. Lots has happened in the Shakespeare world since 1984. I would never have ordered this book had Amazon indicated that it was only an update. Admittedly, I had to go to the copyright page to find the information that the book was "first published in 1984," so Cambridge itself stays pretty quiet about the book's publishing history. However, Amazon (which I depend on a great deal for different kinds of shopping) is more often than not confused about Shakespeare editions, so I have to blame them in part for false advertising. If the date of the editing work is not of concern, this is a good edition. For my purposes, it's not.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 213 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Taming of the Shrew (Dover Thrift Editions)
The Taming of the Shrew (Dover Thrift Editions) by David Bevington (Paperback - July 11, 1997)
$3.00 $2.70
In stock on February 2, 2015
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.