Few of Shakespeare's comedies have proved more popular and enduring than The Taming of the Shrew - and yet it has come to seem one of Shakespeare's more controversial plays. An analysis of the drama that is attentive to its theatrical challenges and stage history allows a better understanding of its power to provoke such diverse responses. How might Katerina's final speech be staged in the twenty-first century? Must it be played for irony, or are her words sincere? How might other characters on stage respond to her account of a woman's duty to her husband? This Handbook provides students and theatre-goers with a performance-oriented guide to the drama. Its commentary explores the action scene by scene, drawing on discussions elsewhere in the book of Shakespeare's cultural and historical moment, and the play's continued fortunes on the stage and screen. Margaret Jane Kidnie equips readers with the skills and materials with which to explore the variety of ways in which this 'troubling comedy' or 'light tragedy' might take on meaning today for modern audiences.
MARGARET JANE KIDNIE is Associate Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She is editor of Textual Performances: The Modern Reproduction of Shakespeare's Drama (with Lukas Erne) and Ben Jonson: The Devil is an Ass and Other Plays.