The Taming of the Shrew is a Tragedy.
I Can Prove It.
Don’t kick the hornet’s nest.
Don’t provoke a shrew.
If you think I’m a raging feminist now, try and tell me Katherina is in love with Petruchio. And then stand back.
How am I so sure that this so-called comedy is really a tragedy? Going back to the birth of the “Theatre” itself and the emergence of “Tragedy” as an artform, I have looked to the ancient Greeks for guidance.
In his treatise, Poetics (circa 330 BCE), the great philosopher Aristotle lays down the guidelines and requirements for Tragedy. The two most essential elements of a tragic plot are: PITY & FEAR. There are many more, including Reversal, Recognition and Suffering.
As defined by Aristotle, each element has their place and purpose in creating a tragic story and “a serious situation of importance, weight and magnitude.”
In both my written blog, The Tragedy of the Shrew, and The Shrew Review Vlog, I will take the deepest of dives into why we must start looking at The Taming of the Shrew differently. I will cover exactly how and where Shakespeare’s text meets every requirement for tragedy. Every. Single. One. I will prove why it is time to move this “problem play” from the Comedy column to the Tragedy column.
It’s time to stop pretending that The Taming of the Shrew is a farcical romantic comedy. It’s time to take Katherina the Shrew at her word and believe her when she says,
“I must forsooth be forced to give my hand, opposed against my heart.”
Beginning with the most important elements, if anything evokes Pity & Fear, I’d say forced marriage is right at the top of that list.
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS of TRAGEDY: PITY & FEAR
Forced Marriage Isn’t Funny
Forced marriage is the central issue of The Taming of the Shrew that we can no longer ignore. Katherina’s words moments before her wedding ceremony MUST be heard. “No shame but mine. I must forsooth be forced to give my hand opposed against my heart.” That sounds pretty simple. She is being forced to marry against her will. Stop trivializing her truth with excuses like “She’s really in love with Petruchio, she just doesn’t want him to know.”
The issue of forced marriage is inherently tragic.
The Shrew Review Vlog
Looking at life, art, film & TV through the view of a big ol’, fat & nasty shrew! The Shrew Review has fun with analyzing all the tragic elements of The Taming of the Shrew, as well as reviewing current film & TV from a self-proclaimed shrew’s perspective and seeking out how the Shrew continues to influence pop culture.
It Must Excite Pity & Fear
The Taming of the Shrew is a Tragedy & Aristotle Says So
This blog takes the deepest of dives into all things profoundly tragic within the text of The Taming of the Shrew.
I’m also adapting The Taming of the Shrew for television.
Contact to request TV pitch documents.