You Shouldn't Change The Politics Of Shakespeare's Most Sexist Play; Taming People Isn't Normal

You Shouldn't Change The Politics Of Shakespeare's Most Sexist Play; Taming People Isn't Normal

The Taming of the Shrew is not like Shakepeare's other comedies. It doesn't have to be.


Shakespeare is the most famous playwright of all time, and The Taming of the Shrew is one of his most well-known comedies. It's also the most controversial, mainly because of the much-debated misogyny/not misogyny at its center.

For those unfamiliar with the plot, here's a refresher: Katherina and Bianca are both daughters of a nobleman. While Bianca is well-loved and sought after by many suitors, Kate is a "shrew," and her aggressive, stubborn disposition drives away any potential suitor's affections. A man named Petruchio is offered financial rewards if he will marry her and tame her. So here goes. The two constantly spar, but Petruchio breaks Kate down through different psychological torments until she is tamed and expresses her deference to him.

To a contemporary reader or audience, this immediately raises red flags. Not only does it cause friction with a more contemporary view of women's rights and gender roles, but it's also incongruous with many of Shakespeare's works.

Although I don't like to apply modern terms like "feminist" to someone who lived centuries ago, a running theme of Shakespeare's comedies is that the female protagonists end up with the person they want to be with. The women are usually empowered in their love lives, so it seems shocking to see it flipped on its head here.

In most productions of The Taming of the Shrew, the creators seem to try to flip the play back to a place where the audience will be more comfortable. They don't want to play Petruchio as an outright misogynist, or Kate as someone who is truly beaten into submission, so creative teams often attempt to make the play seem more like Shakespeare's other comedies.

You can say that Petruchio truly loves Kate and wishes to get closer to her--well, it might explain away a few lines, but it will hardly change the fact that he keeps her from eating and drinking. You can say that Kate really loves Petruchio and is just afraid of letting her walls down, but even if she does love him, it doesn't change Petruchio's actions. George Bernard Shaw said about an actor playing Petruchio as a sympathetic character: "He cannot make the spectacle of a man cracking a heavy whip at a starving woman otherwise than disgusting and unmanly."

Perhaps in an effort to visibly lessen some of the misogynistic themes and actions in The Taming of the Shrew, some productions have switched the gender of the characters, or cast the show with actors of all the same gender. But you don't need to look outside the play's text to see a gender-bending version of the story--although few productions show it, it's right there, before Kate and Petruchio's story begins.

The Taming of the Shrew truly opens with the story of Sly, a drunken peasant. A lord happens upon Sly, sleeping in a drunken stupor, and decides that it would be fun to see if he could convince Sly that he was actually a great lord, with servants and a noble wife. He dresses Sly in fine clothes, has his servants attend him, and has his page dress as a woman, pretending to be Sly's wife. Kate and Petruchio's story is presented as a play for Sly's entertainment.

And all the while the servants, page, and lord insist, despite Sly's arguing, that Sly is a great lord until Sly's trust in his own mind breaks down and he accepts that he is something that he is truly not. Sound familiar?

When you see these two stories next to each other, it feels harder to argue that Kate and Petruchio's relationship is secretly loving and healthy, that perhaps Kate pretended to be tamed so Petruchio could win a bet, or that maybe he treated her respectfully in secret. Both Sly and Kate's stories show a character being worn down until they accept whatever is told them, although Sly's taming is less disturbing than Kate's.

This doesn't mean that The Taming of the Shrew isn't relevant for a modern audience. It just means that it can't be treated like Twelfth Night or A Midsummer Night's Dream. Despite the entertaining drama, and yes, the comedy that exists in the exchanges between Petruchio and Kate, there are elements of tragedy to this story.

Whether or not you believe the characters truly end up happy at the play's conclusion, the fact remains that more than one character has been changed by a person exerting physical and psychological power over them. Shakespeare shows us there's humor in "taming" another human being, but we're pulling wool over our own eyes if we think he isn't also showing us the damage.

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10 Reasons Why Tom Holland Is The Definition Of Total Boyfriend Material

He's the adorable British dork of our dreams.


Tom Holland first stormed onto the scene as Spiderman in "Captain America: Civil War" in 2016, and we all loved his performance in the movie. However, now that time has gone on, there's another reason he's stolen all of our hearts: He's one hundred percent boyfriend material! He's absolutely adorable, is a complete dork without ever meaning to, and he loves all dogs. There are so many reasons Tom Holland is perfect boyfriend material, but here are ten of the most important reasons.

1. Let's start with the obvious: He's Spiderman.

What girl wouldn't want to date a superhero? Spiderman is one of the best superheroes ever so it would be amazing to date the actor who plays him. Also, if you didn't cry during Tom Holland's final performance in "Infinity War", you're lying.

2. He loves dogs.

Not only does he have a cute pit bull named Tessa, but he also seems to make friends with every dog he meets. It would be so wonderful to play with dogs with him!

3. He's always down for adventures.

One of the best parts of dating someone is getting to try new things and go on adventures with them. Since Tom travels the world all the time to promote his movies, you and he could maybe take time every now and then to try something new, like surfing!

4. He's that adorable British boyfriend you've always dreamt of.

Yes, celebrities like Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch have a more "suave Brit" personality about them, but Tom Holland is the "adorable Brit" every girl has ever dreamt of dating. He's pretty much cornered the market at this point.

5. He's just a really big dork.

I mean, just look at him! I don't think there would be anyone better to laugh or do dorky things with than Tom Holland.

6. He's got a great group of friends.

I don't know about you, but I would love to hang out with Zendaya and Jacob Balaton. All three of these guys just seem like perfect squad goals.

7. He truly loves and appreciates the people in his life.

Tom always shows his gratitude for every opportunity he's been given and never hesitates to support his co-stars. That, to me, is true friendship.

8. He's got a great sense of style.

That is one classy outfit right there. And the muscles are a great bonus.

9. He's well-traveled.

How awesome would it be to see the world with Tom as he goes on promotional tours? Think of all the cool things you could experience together!

10. He's a pure ray of sunshine who deserves the world.

Breaking News: Local Boy is a Literal Angel. He is the Brightest Ray of Sunshine.

So ladies, if you're looking for the perfect boyfriend, look no further than Tom Holland.

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Top 10 Mythical Creatures To Have A One-Night-Stand With

This article was inspired by a conversation I had with my dear housemates, xoxo Shel, Miranda, Max.


Once upon a time, in a land far far away, lived a moderately-sized co-op's slightly-dirty living room with 4 individuals who collaborated on this article. Let's be honest, we've all had these conversations; I'm just bringing them to light. Let's start.

1. Bigfoot

You know what they say about big feet.

Bigfoot is number 10, because while he is rumored to be well-endowed, he is hard to get in contact with and might ghost you. He also probably has mommy Earth issues, and I'm not about to play therapist for another man, let alone a mythical one.

2. Medusa

Medusa rhymes with Sedusa, which she will do after a night of awkwardly avoiding contact at a frat party. However, she does come with a lot of tongues, and emotional baggage, so you may want to steer clear of anything besides a one-night-stand. Just imagine the snakes tho.

3. Werewolves

This is a contentious one, because I personally am not attracted to werewolves. However, the silent ghostwriters of this article are.

"Their power, their agility, their grace, shall I go on? Their hair. Very hairy. I love that. Imagine running your fingers through their hair." -- Quote from my roommate.

4. Mermaids/Sirens

You are a liar if you don't want to seduce a mermaid, or rather, be seduced by a siren's loving call. These queens of the oceans are all probably tops, and that's a rarity in the world of sapphic bottoms. However, they'll probably kill you, so keep that in mind.

5. Unicorn (But Not the Horse, I Mean A Bisexual Femme)

There are a lot of boring, unattractive straight couples on Tinder looking for a "third" to spice things up. Sadly for them, human beings are not objects and don't exist to fulfill your sexual wishes because your boyfriend doesn't know what a clit is. Please get off Tinder, for the love of God.

6. Elves, Specifically The Keebler Elf

"Why, specifically the Keebler elf, my friend?"
"Look at those cheeks. He has some very plump cheeks. Both up top, and bottom." -- Unnamed housemate

7. Centaur

Centaurs are number four on the list for several reasons. 1. That gallop. 2. That long, beautiful mane. 3. You can probably guess.

I think my biggest issue with centaurs is they seem a little pretentious. They'd seem like mansplain Joy Division to me at a house show. They just have that look.

8. Kraken

I would take him home to my mother. He's just misunderstood, and a little bit slippery. Very anime, I know.

9. Ghosts

I feel like the ectoplasm would be an interesting experience. If it weren't for number one on this list, I would immediately take home a ghost and let them possess me.

10. An Unproblematic White Man

Despite my many attempts, I have only been disappointed by the myth of a man who didn't have some sort of fucked up political beliefs. Regardless, I'm still going to keep falling for the idea of one.

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