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Palgrave Macmillan

Shakespeare and the Shrew

Performing the Defiant Female Voice

ISBN 9780230348097
Publication Date December 2012
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Palgrave Shakespeare Studies

Whenever Shakespeare wrote a 'shrew' into one of his plays he created a character who challenged ideas about acceptable behaviour for a woman. This is as true today as when the plays were first performed. A shrew is a woman who refuses to be quiet when she is told to be, who says things that people do not want to hear. She is constructed to alleviate male anxieties through ridicule, but like so many objects of comedy or derision, she is full of power because of her very ability to generate these anxieties. 'Shrew' is supposed to be an insult, but has often been used to describe women enacting behaviour that can be brave, clever, noble or just. This book marries an examination of Shakespeare's shrews in his plays with their history in recent performance, to investigate our own attitudes to hearing women with defiant voices.

ANNA KAMARALLI is a Teaching Fellow on the Theatre programme in the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her articles have appeared in Shakespeare Survey and Shakespeare Bulletin.

'Shrewd tempters with their tongues': Historic Shrews
Constance, Kate Percy, Jeanne la Pucelle, Margaret d'Anjou
'My tongue will tell the anger of my heart': Comic Shrews
Adriana, Katherine, Beatrice
'Well she can persuade': Shrews Post-Comedy
The Tragedies: Goneril, Emilia
The not-quite Tragedies: Isabella, Marina, Paulina
'Let her speak too'


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