Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Taming of the Shrew Act 1, Scene 1


Sean and i happily jumped into reading this play today, and we are having a great time! i have to say that reading this aloud with him rather than reading it by myself makes a HUGE difference. first of all, it takes far less time, even when we stop to discuss what's going on. it's also much more enjoyable in general. and i have to say that it's easier to follow and great to share the experience with someone! my advice: find someone to read Shakespeare with and enjoy Shrew with us!

act 1, scene 1
Lucentio and his servant Tranio arrive in Padua, Lucentio having been sent there by his father to study. some people enter, and the two men stand aside and listen in on the conversation. Baptista, father of Bianca and Katharina, enters with them and Gremio (an old man) and Hortensio, suitors of young Bianca. Baptista makes it plain that he will not allow Bianca to marry until Katharina is married. at that point, anyone who wants to can court her. Katharina complains that her father is making a laughingstock of her, but they all go on anyway. Bianca is sent inside to practice her music and read as Gremio continues to complain that she will forever be locked up in his house. it isn't fair that Bianca should have to pay for Katharina's shrewish nature. Baptista tells them that no man will spend time with her except for a schoolmaster. the Baptista family all exits and Gremio and Hortensio cook up a plan: although they are rivals for Bianca's love, they will work together to find a husband for Katharina. (see quote below.) after they do so, they will go back to being rivals again. they leave and Lucentio and Tranio re-emerge. in this short time, Lucentio has fallen in love with Bianca. he wants to pose as a schoolmaster in order to get closer to Bianca, but Tranio reminds him that if he plays schoolmaster, no one will be there to act as Lucentio. his father will send visitors and packages and whatnot that will all need to be received and entertained. Lucentio realizes that no one in Padua yet knows who they are, so that Tranio could pose as Lucentio in his place. they trade clothes just as Biondello, another servant to Lucentio enters. Lucentio lies and tells Biondello that they must trade places because he has killed a man, and Tranio is helping him hide. Biondello, although a little confused, agrees to pretend that Tranio is Lucentio and vice versa.

fun fact: at the top of this scene, Lucentio says that he is in Lombardy, but apparently Padua isn't in Lombardy. according to Bevington, the imprecision of map-making at that time may have caused Shakespeare to believe that it was.

while reading i noticed that Katharina's lines were more difficult to decipher than anyone else's. whenever she spoke we had to sift through the footnotes in order to figure everything out. was it just us? or maybe just this scene? or is her manner of speaking more complicated than everyone else's? Biondello was by far the easiest to understand, which would make sense because he is a servant and Kate is wealthy and probably educated?

this makes me want to watch 10 Things I Hate About You SOOO bad! this must happen soon!

quote of the day:
'i say a devil. think'st thou, Hortensio, though her father be very rich, any man is so very a fool to be married to hell?'

for tomorrow: act 1, scene 2

-rebecca may

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