Sunday, March 9, 2008

Oh! I Get it!

The Taming of the Shrew. Dir. Sam Taylor. Perf. Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. 1929. DVD. Aikman Archive, 2005.
Observe this sequence from the Sam Taylor Taming of the Shrew (1929):

That non-verbal exchange between Katherine and Bianca takes place after the exchange of these famous (and famously-problematic) words:
I am ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace;
Or seek for rule, supremacy and sway,
When they are bound to serve, love, and obey. (V.ii.162-65)
The wink, obviously, changes everything. She doesn’t mean what she says—but it’s what she has to say (both because Shakespeare wrote it and because Petruchio and custom seem to demand it.

I supose, if we consider the Petruchio she’s up against, an ironic reading is, really, the most straightforward!

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Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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