SCENE is set in Padua, and Petruchio's country house.
The Contents of the Play.
Katharine was the eldest daughter of Baptista, a rich gentleman of Padua. She
was a lady of such a disobedient spirit and fiery temper, that she was known
in Padua by the name Katharine the Shrew. It seemed impossible that any
gentleman would ever marry this lady, and therefore Baptista, her father, has
given refusal to many excellent offers that were made to her gentle sister
Bianca, putting off all Bianca's suitors with this excuse, that when the
eldest sister will be married, only then they could make their offer’s to
It happened, however, that a gentleman, named Petruchio, came to Padua,
purposely to look out for a wife. Being not confused by reputation of
Katharine and hearing that she was rich and handsome decided to marry her,
and to tame after a wedding. And truly nobody was so suited for this work as
Petruchio, whose spirit was as high as Katharine's.
At first Petruchio went to Katharine and applied to Baptista to ask him the
hand of his daughter, saying, that having heard of her best full modesty and
mild behavior, he had come from Verona to solicit her lovely. Her father
warned Petruchio that Katharine would be not happy to hear such news, but
being glad to get Katharine married, he answered that he would give her
twenty thousand crowns for her dowry, and half his estate after his death; so
this contract was quickly agreed, and Baptista went to inform his shrewish
daughter of such an offer, and sent her to Petruchio to talk to him.
At the same time Petruchio discussed with himself the mode of courtship he
should followed. Katharine would did not like the set of things, she in loud
and angry terms had showed him how justly she had got the name of Shrew,
while he still was praising her in sweet words. And when Baptista entered,
Petruchio told him that his daughter had met him kindly, and that she had
promised to be married the next Sunday. Katharine answered that she would
rather see him hanged on Sunday, and reproached her father for wishing to wed
her to such a mad person as Petruchio. Petruchio asked her father not to pay
attention to her angry words, for they had agreed that she should seem
reluctant before him, but that when they were alone he had found her very
fond and loving.
On the Sunday all the wedding guests were assembled, but they waited long
before Petruchio came, and Katharine even cried of disappointment and thought
that Petruchio had been only jesting at her. At last, however, he appeared;
but he did not bring any wedding dress which he promised to Katharine, and he
was dressed himself not like a groom, but as tramp.
Petruchio could not be persuaded to change his dress; he said Katharine was
to be married to him, and not to his clothes. They went to church. Baptista
had organized a marriage feast, but when everybody returned from church,
Petruchio, told that he would instantly carry his wife home, and they would
not be present at this feast. Petruchio mounted his wife upon a miserable
horse, which was lean and lank, and they went on.
After a weary journey, during which Katharine had heard nothing but the
ravings of Petruchio, they arrived at his house. Petruchio welcomed her
kindly to her new home, but he decided that she should have neither rest nor
food that night. The tables were spread, and supper soon served; but
Petruchio, pretending to find every dish not suitable to eat, threw the meat
about the floor, and ordered the servants to remove it away; and all this he
did, as he said, in love for his Katharine, that she might not eat meat that
was not well cooked. And when Katharine, weary and hungry decided to rest,
he found the same fault with the bed, throwing the pillows and bedclothes
about the room, so that she was forced to sit down in a chair, where she felt
asleep, she was awakened by the loud voice of her husband, shouting at the
servants for the bad-making of his wife's wadding-bed.
The next day Petruchio still speaking kind words to Katharine did not give
her chance to eat, throwing the breakfast on the floor as he had done with
the supper; and Katharine was forced to beg the servants to bring her
secretly a food; but they being instructed by Petruchio, refused to do this.
At this day Petruchio decided to return to Batista’s house and feast there.
On all way Petruchio continued to tame Katharine. On a road they had met an
Then Petruchio knew that old gentleman, he was the father of Lucentio, a
young gentleman who was to be married to Baptista's younger daughter, Bianca,
and he made Vincentio very happy, by telling him about that rich marriage of
his son and they all journeyed together to Baptista's house, where there was a
large company assembled to celebrate the wedding, Baptista had willingly agreed
to the marriage of Bianca when he had got Katharine off his hands.
When they entered, Baptista welcomed them to the wedding feast, and there was
present also another newly married pair.
Lucentio, Bianca's husband, and Hortensio, the other new married man, could
not be kept from jesting at Petruchio, and they hint at the shrewish
disposition of Petruchio's wife, and these grooms seemed high pleased with
the mild tempers of the ladies they had chosen, laughing at Petruchio for his
less fortunate choice. Petruchio took little notice of their jokes. And he
offered a dispute in order to find out whose wife was more obedient. The
other two husbands willingly agreed, for they were quite sure that their
gentle wives would prove more obedient than the Katharine. Lucentio was first
who sent his servant to Bianca, but the servant returned, and said, that she
refused to come. And then it was Hortensio's turn to send for his wife. But
the servant turned without mistress.
And at last Petruchio’s turn came; he had sent the servant to his wife
Company had practically no time to think she would not obey her husband, when
Baptista, and all in amaze saw Katharine entering the room.
And to the wonder of all present, the reformed shrewish lady spoke about duty
of obedience wife, as she had practiced it implicitly in a ready submission
to Petruchio's will. And Katharine became famous in Padua, not as Katharine
the Shrew, but as Katharine the most obedient and duteous wife in Padua.
"The Taming of the Shrew " is one of the earliest comedies of Shakespeare.
I like this comedy very much. It is evident, that it was written by a young,
It is the real comedy, which is full of lively situations and funny
dialogues. It is very pleasant to recollect my first sensation from the scene
5 (the 4-th act), where Катарина and Petruchio came back to Baptista's home
for a wedding feast. It seems to me that I could not stop laughing in a loud
voice for a very long time.
The action in a comedy develops very dynamically. There are no long and dull
dialogues, unnecessary scenes and events. Everything is written so alive,
that if there are separate moralizing scenes, they do not irritate.
Petruchio is the typical representative of his time - courageous, free from
prejudices, full of force and energy. He thirsts for struggle, success,
riches, female love - and meets worthy opponent, she is Katharine. In her
image Shakespeare had represented traditional type of the quarrelsome woman
from the medieval stories, but nevertheless he relieved her from unpleasant
features. She as well as Petruchio, causes the large sympathy. And Katharine,
giving way to Petruchio, still remains his worthy opponent. Even it is
difficult to understand, who from them will be the leader in their further
One can consider the play as protection of a medieval principle of
unconditional submission of the woman to the man, or as a hymn to courageous,
beautiful and clever woman. But I think it is more correct to consider it
simply as a joke.
So this play is fine seen both at theatre, and in cinema. And I think it very
pleasant to the directors to put, to the actors to play and to the spectators
to watch it.
Examples of the Language.
PETRUCHIO Come on, I' God's name; once more toward our father's.
Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!
KATHARINA The moon! The sun: it is not moonlight now.
PETRUCHIO I say it is the moon that shines so bright.
KATHARINA I know it is the sun that shines so bright.
PETRUCHIO Now, by my mother's son, and that's myself,
It shall be moon, or star, or what I list,
Or ere I journey to your father's house.
Go on, and fetch our horses back again.
Evermore cross'd and cross'd; nothing but cross'd!
KATHARINA Forward, I pray, since we have come so far,
And be it moon, or sun, or what you please:
An if you please to call it a rush-candle,
Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.
PETRUCHIO I say it is the moon.
KATHARINA I know it is the moon.
PETRUCHIO Nay, then you lie: it is the blessed sun.
KATHARINA Then, God be bless'd, it is the blessed sun:
But sun it is not, when you say it is not;
And the moon changes even as your mind.
What you will have it named, even that it is;
And so it shall be so for Katharina.
PETRUCHIO Well, forward, forward! Thus the bowl should run,
And not unluckily against the bias.
But, soft! company is coming here.
Good morrow, gentle mistress: where away?
Tell me, sweet Kate, and tell me truly too,
Hast thou beheld a fresher gentlewoman?
ПЕТРУЧЧО Живей, живей, - ведь едим мы к отцу.
О боже, как луна сияет ярко!
КАТАРИНА Луна! То солнечный, не лунный свет.
ПЕТРУЧЧО Я говорю - луна сияет ярко.
КАТАРИНА Я знаю: солнце так сияет ярко.
ПЕТРУЧЧО Клянусь я сыном матери моей, -
А это я, - пока сиять не будет
Луна, звезда иль все, что мне угодно,
Не еду. – Поворачивай коней!
Всегда, во всем ей только бы перечить!
КАТАРИНА Прошу вас, едем, раз что мы в дороге, -
Будь это луна иль солнце, что угодно;
Хотите, назовите хоть лучиной, -
Впредь так и будет для меня, клянусь.
ПЕТРУЧЧО Я говорю: луна.
КАТАРИНА Луна, конечно.
ПЕТРУЧЧО Ты лжешь: благословенное то солнце.
КАТАРИНА Благословен господь, да, это солнце;
И скажите – не солнце, так не солнце.
Изменчива луна, как ваша мысль.
Чем назовете, тем оно и будет
И тем должно для Катарины быть.
ПЕТРУЧЧО Вперед, вперед! Так шар катиться должен,
А не взбираться по наклону вверх.
Но тише! Кто-то к нам сюда идет.
Синьора, добрый день; куда идете?
Скажи мне, Кет, да говори по правде:
Видала ли ты девушку свежее?
Румянец спорит с белизною на щечках!
Какие звезды в небе так сияют,
Как эти глазки на лице небесном? –
Красавица, еще раз - мой привет! –
Кет, поцелуй за красоту сеньору.
КАТАРИНА Прелестная и юная девица,
Such war of white and red within her cheeks!
What stars do spangle heaven with such beauty,
As those two eyes become that heavenly face?
Fair lovely maid, once more good day to thee.
Sweet Kate, embrace her for her beauty's sake.
Young budding virgin, fair and fresh and sweet,
Whither away, or where is thy abode?
Happy the parents of so fair a child;
Happier the man, whom favorable stars
Allot thee for his lovely bed-fellow!
PETRUCHIO Why, how now, Kate! I hope thou art not mad:
KATHARINA Pardon, old father, my mistaking eyes,
That have been so bedazzled with the sun
That everything I look on seemeth green:
Now I perceive thou art a reverend father;
This is a man, old, wrinkled, faded, wither'd,
And not a maiden, as thou say'st he is.
Pardon, I pray thee, for my mad mistaking.
Куда идешь и где ты обитаешь?
Хоть счастливы родители твои
Еще счастливей тот, кому светила
Судили в жены милые тебя!
ПЕТРУЧЧО Как! Что с тобою, Кет? В уме ли ты?
Ведь это старец сморщенный и дряхлый,
А не девица, как говоришь.
КАТАРИНА Прости меня, старец, - обозналась я:
От солнца я ослепла совершенно,
В глазах пошли зеленые круги.
Теперь я вижу: ты почтенный стариц;
Прости, пожалуйста, ошибку мне.
Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow,
And dart not scornful glances from those eyes,
To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor:
It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads,
Confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair buds,
And in no sense is meet or amiable.
A woman moved is like a fountain troubled,
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty;
And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labor both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;
And when she is forward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
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.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come, you forward and unable worms!
My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
My heart as great, my reason haply more,
To bandy word for word and frown for frown;
But now I see our lances are but straws,
Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
And place your hands below your husband's foot:
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready; may it do him ease.
Стыдись! Расправь нахмуренные брови
И грозных взглядов не кидай, не рань
Супруга своего и властелина:
Гнев губит красоту, как ниву – град;
Как вихрь, он славу добрую развеет,
И ничего приятного в нем нет.
Сердитая жена – источник мутный,
Противный, засоренный, безобразный;
Им каждый погнушается; никто,
Как бы не жаждал, капли не проглотит.
Муж – это господин твой, жизнь, защитник,
Глава и повелитель; о тебе
Печется он, трудам тяжелым тело
На суше и на море подвергая.
Он в стужу днем и в бурю ночь бдит,
Пока в тепле ты почиваешь дома,
И просит дани от тебя одной:
Любви, приветливости, и послушанья –
Уплаты малой за огромный долг.
Обязанности подданных к монарху
И жен к мужьям их – сходны меж собой.
И та, что своенравна и сварлива
И честной воле мужа не покорна, -
Кто, как не дерзостный бунтарь, она,
Изменник любящему господину?
На вашу глупость стыдно мне смотреть:
Вы там воюете, где вы должны бы
Молить о мире, приклонив колени;
Повелевать, главенствовать хотите,
Хоть долг ваш – покоряться и любить!
Как слабо, нежно, мягко наше тело,
Негодно для трудов и для борьбы, -
Так, с ним в согласии, разве не должны
Сердца и чувства наши быть нежны?
Строптивые, бессильные вы черви!
И я была заносчива, как вы,
И вспыльчива; я резко отвечала
На слово словом, выпадом на выпад.
Теперь же вижу я, что наши копья –
Соломинки: так силы наши слабы.
С чем нашу слабость я сравнить могла бы?
Чем кажемся сильней, тем мы слабей.
Нет в гневе пользы нам; к ногам мужей
Склонитесь, жены; пред своим готова
Я долг исполнить, лишь скажи он слово.