illustration of Kate and Petruchio standing and staring at one another

The Taming of the Shrew

by William Shakespeare

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What are the relationships between Shakespeare's The Taming of The Shrew and Fletcher's The Tamer Tamed?

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The Tamer Tamed or, as it is also known, The Woman's Prize, is set a few years after the end of The Taming of the Shrew. This later play revisits Petruchio, whose first wife, Kate, has died as a result of their tempestuous relationship. In this later play, Petruchio has married again, but his new wife, called Maria, is even more of a shrew than her predecessor, and Petruchio finds that all of his methods to "break" and "tame" her come to naught. The most effective strategy that Maria has is witholding sex from her husband until he changes his ways. Maria actually encourages other women to do exactly the same thing, and this group of women end up locking themselves in the upper floor of Maria's house with provisions, much to the displeasure of their husbands below. At the end of the play, Maria is successful in gaining her wishes.

This play is clearly very different from The Taming of the Shrew, and its implicit message of male supremacy and authority in marriage. Note, for example, what Kate says in Act V scene 2:

Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,

Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee...

This comment is unquivocal in the message that this play gives about the battle of the sexes, although it is important to remember that directors have presented these lines in a number of different ways. Both plays therefore concern the pervasive theme of the battle of the sexes, though in a very different way.

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