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The Taming of the Shrew (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—an older daughter Susanna and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright and poet, but also as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Although some think that sometime between 1610 and 1613 Shakespeare retired from the theater and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616, others believe that he may have continued to work in London until close to his death.

Barbara A. Mowat is Director of Research emerita at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Consulting Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, and author of The Dramaturgy of Shakespeare’s Romances and of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and their editing.

Paul Werstine is Professor of English at the Graduate School and at King’s University College at Western University. He is a general editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare and author of Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare and of many papers and articles on the printing and editing of Shakespeare’s plays.
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Product Details

  • Series: Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074347757X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743477574
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King's New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as "an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers." Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later under James I, called the King's Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain's Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare's plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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!
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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!
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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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
'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.
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