The Shaming of the Shrew

15 Aug

bondage shrewThe Shaming of the Shrew is a ribald comedy written by William Shakespeare, believed to have been penned in a burst of manic creativity between midnight and sunrise on Midsummer’s Night, 1591.

The main plot depicts the courtship of a mischievous nobleman and a headstrong shrew. Initially, Katherina is an unwilling participant in the relationship, but Petruchio tempers her with various sexual torments – the “shaming” – until she becomes a compliant and obedient mistress.

The play’s apparent misogynistic elements have become the subject of considerable controversy, particularly among modern scholars, shrewaudiences and readers. However, apologists for Shakespeare who have examined his diary, his handwriting, and the many clay pipes that he used that summer, said he was smoking an inordinate amount of cannabis that year. Shakespeare was 27 at the time.

ShakespeareSaysThe Royal Shakespearean Society has also weighed in, saying that his reputation should not be judged on the basis of this single “stoner sitcom” in the Bard’s oeuvre. In his defense, they cite the evidence of his diaries wherein even “Wild Bill”, as he was known to his intimates at Ye Olde Fumitorium in downtown Avon, frequently admonished himself not to take too seriously anything he wrote under the influence of “the inventive weed.”

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Alan Annand is a writer of mystery novels, most notably his New Age Noir series featuring an astrologer whom one reviewer has called called “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”

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