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TOPIC: The Tamer Tamed

The Tamer Tamed 8 years 11 months ago #149

The Tamer Tamed is a play by John Fletcher, first performed in 1611. It is a comedic sequel to William Shakespeare's 1594 play The Taming of the Shrew.

The plot switches the gender roles of Shakespeare's play: the women seek to tame the men. Katherine (the "shrew" of the original) has died, and Petruchio takes a second wife, Maria. Maria denounces her former mildness and vows not to sleep with Petruchio until she "turn him and bend him as [she] list, and mold him into a babe again." After many comedic exchanges and plot twists, Petruchio is finally "tamed" in the eyes of Maria, and the play ends with the two reconciled.
The play may reflect how society's views of women, femininity, and 'domestic propriety' were beginning to change.

It is said that Fletcher wrote this play to attract Shakespeare's attention, and it seems to have worked - the two went on to collaborate on at least three plays. Fletcher eventually became the chief dramatist of the King's Men upon Shakespeare's retirement, and wrote about 42 plays during his life.

Recently, the Royal Shakespeare Company resurrected the play, which had sunk into obscurity during the previous three centuries. The play ran in their theatre in England from January 15 - March 6 2004.

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Last Edit: 8 years 1 month ago by William Shakespeare.
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The Tamer Tamed 8 years 11 months ago #153

The Woman's Prize or The Tamer Tamed exists in three versions: the first folio edition of 1647, the beautifully written Lambarde manuscript (date unknown), and the second folio edition of 1679. The first two are the most important textually as they are closely related though not identical.

The Woman's Prize is generally regarded as the work of John Fletcher alone. It was not entered into the Stationer's Register until 4 September 1646, although it was obviously written a great deal earlier. Just how much earlier has been a matter of considerable debate, with the principal focus being upon its status as a possible sequel for Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew (1593-94). If this is so, and indeed it seems most likely, then it is reasonable to expect a date that is closer to The Shrew's composition rather than a later one. With this in mind Chambers assigns a date earlier than 1604, rebuking a suggestion by Gayley that a possible revision occurred in sometime around 1610-14 (Chambers 222). With unreserved alarm Oliphant questions Chamber's proposal. He supports the revision dates and cites 1606-7 as the date of possible composition (151-56). References within the play to two plays by Jonson, Epicoene (1609) and The Alchemist (1610), as well as to Fletcher's own Wit Without Money (c. 1614), support the concept of the revision. Bowers suggests a date of 1611.

Whatever the date of the play's composition, an attempted revival on Friday 18 October 1633 placed the play at the center of a minor controversy when Henry Herbert, then Master of Revels, forbade its staging. The following Monday the play script was returned to the King's Men "purg'd," in Herbert's words, "of oaths, prophaness, and ribaldrye" (quoted in Bowers 4). It has been suggested at this point that the Lambarde manuscript represents the text of the play prior to Herbert's purging (Livingston). "All ould plays," he added, "ought to bee brought to the Master of Revells, and have his allowance to them, for which he should have his fee, since they may be full of offensive things against church and state" (Quoted in Bowers 4, Smith 39). Many editors have simply focused on Herbert's demand for his fee and assumed that greed was the prime motivation behind his censorship of the play. However, it is possible, as both Livingston and Smith point out, that part of Herbert's concern about things offensive to "church and state" was the play's "clearly anti-patriarchal theme" (Smith 39).

There is little doubt that the play is best understood as a sequel to The Taming of the Shrew. The plot concerns the marriage of Petruchio to his second wife Maria. As the new bride of a renowned wife-tamer, Maria sees it as her duty to womankind to subdue Petruchio. Exploiting the masculine sexual urge of her husband in a plot that owes its origins to Aristophane's Lysistrata, Maria literally barricades herself off from Petruchio on their wedding night, swearing to remain there until he capitulates to her demands. In a parallel to the subplot of The Shrew, that of The Woman's Prize deals with Maria's sister and her efforts to marry her partner of choice, Rowland, while avoiding marriage to the elderly Moroso, the suitor of her father's choice. Ostensibly, The Woman's Prize appears to explore some of the ideas around the supposed stability of the gender and power hierarchies of early modern England. Abuse of the masculine position of power by male characters in the play incites a state of feminine misrule and an inversion of the so-called natural order. In turn, the inversion of order aids the women in the play in achieving their goals within marriage. That achievement results in a restoration of the ideal order and an acceptance of the companionate ideals within marriage. While The Woman's Prize does not question the social belief in the conventional gender and power roles within the family, it does reveal that the ideal of the companionate marriage can only be achieved if both partners are willing to relinquish some authority.
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