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her in the salted skin of an old horse belongs to a ruder school of humour than even Petruchio's sufficiently Boeotian fun. Somewhat nearer parallels are found both in the Spanish Conde Lucanor (first printed, 1575) and the Italian Notte piacevole of Straparola (1550); and the Jutland legend of the shrewish Mette,l which throws into vivid relief thu, folk-lore origin of the story,2 is in some respects nearer than either.
The earliest known version of the Shakespearean Taming-story is contained in the play The Taming of A Shrew, which was published in 1594, with the following title: "A Pleasant Conceited Historie, called The Taming of a Shrew. As it was sundry times acted by the Right Honourable the Earl of Pembrook his seruants . . 1594. It was reissued in 1596 and 1607. In the latter year its publisher transferred it to Smethwick, who afterwards published the Quarto of Shakespeare's play.
In what precise form its author met with the story we cannot tell. Probably the submissive sister or sisters of the Shrew already occurred in the variant he used, as in Straparola and the Danish tale. Kate, the Shrew, has two, Emelia and Philena, whose father compels their suitors, Aurelius and Polydor, as the condition of their own success, to find a wooer for Kate. Ferando consents, for a bribe of six thousand crowns, to undertake the enterprise. The subsequent course of the intrigue is substantially as in our present play. Aurelius changes clothes with his servant Valeria (=Tranio) and sends him to instruct Kate in music,
1 Simrock, Quellen des Shake- three examples never to contraspeare, i. 345; Köhler in Jahr. dict her husband; the final trial buch, iii. 397
of the obedience of the three 2 E.g. Mette is the third of wives corresponds literally with three daughters, she learns by the last scene of the comedy.
in order that he and Polydor ‘may have leisure to court our loves.' He further persuades a merchant, Phylotus (the pedant), to personate his father, the Duke of Sestos (Vincentio), in order to win the consent of Alphonso (Baptista) to the match. The Taming itself anticipates every incident of Petruchio's from the first cavalier encounter of their wits-a brisk stichomythia—to the final appeal of the converted Shrew to her degenerate sisters. But the psychological groundwork of motive is far cruder : the Shrew is privately eager to be married, and Ferando sustains his courage by recalling the six thousand
The scene is laid, absurdly enough, at Athens, but the names of the persons are variously Greek, Italian, and English; and the style has startlingly sudden moods of classical allusion, which suggest a popular play fitfully touched by an academic hand.
When or by whom the old drama of A Shrew was first recast we do not know; but that Shakespeare had such a recast before him, large parts of which he retained, can hardly be disputed. The skilled mediocrity and the insipid accomplishment of the first Act cannot be due to him. Yet the reviser was clearly a practised playwright, and he materially strengthened the somewhat nerveless by-plot of A Shrew, by substituting the Bianca story in its present form for the highly uninteresting love - affairs of Emelia and Philena.
The two scarcely distinguishable lovers of these two indistinguishable sisters are replaced by three rivals for the hand of one, and the young adventurer Lucentio (Aurelius) has to carry his
not only against the worldly cavils of the father, but against the intrigues of two elderly fellow-suitors. The reviser's merit here lay, however, only in versifying a story that lay ready to hand. Hortensio and
Gremio, with most of the incident and much of the dialogue in which they figure, are taken over from Gascoigne's Supposes, a translation of Ariosto's Gli Suppositi, first acted in 1566. This perhaps suggested the transfer of the locality from Athens to Italy. Hortensius, like Valeria, enters Baptista's service as a music-master, and runs out with his head broken by the Shrew; but all the other circumstances of the tutoring episode are different ; Hortensius having hired himself out in order to gain access to Bianca, while Valeria is sent by his master to keep Kate employed.
The Latin lesson was apparently suggested by a similar scene in a slightly older play, The Three Lords and Three Ladies of London (pr. 1590).
But the reviser also set his hand to the main story, and made it at various points more articulate and more refined. The Petruchio of Acts i. and ii. 1. 1-168 probably represents his work. Instead of being bribed by the father with six thousand crowns to marry his daughter, he appears at the outset as a young heir in search of a wife, and resolved to 'wive it wealthily in Padua.' He and his man Grumio are old acquaintances of Hortensio (i. 2. 3). All this the reviser sets forth in fluent and regular blank verse, freely strewn with classical allusions and Marlowesque reminiscences, or in homely humorous prose.
Finally, the play, thus revised, was taken up by Shakespeare. The portions generally assigned to him are ii. 1. 169-326, iii. 2. (except vv. 130-150), iv. 1. 3. 5., V. 2. (except the last eight lines). It is clear that he felt no very serious interest in the subject. In no other comedy was he content merely to touch with gold the salient points of another man's work.
There are also marks of singular haste. The reviser had made
Petruchio the old friend of Hortensio, but a stranger to Lucentio and Tranio (i. 2.). In iii. 2., however, it is Tranio (in the rôle of Lucentio) who bears himself as Petruchio's old friend, familiar with his habits and eccentricities. Shakespeare's hand is discernible only in the scenes in which Petruchio, Katharine, and Grumio appear. Even Petruchio's preliminary negotiations with Katharine's father show, as we have seen, only the mediocre touch of the reviser. But a finer spirit takes possession of the scene when the mocking friends withdraw and leave him to his first formidable encounter with the Shrew (ii. 1. 183). The situation here demanded powers far beyond those of the author of A Shrew. The Shakespearean Petruchio is distinguished from his predecessors chiefly by the finer breeding and the more complete consistency with which he plays
The author of A Shrew permitted Ferando to diverge from his rôle of perfect bonhomie, by hinting at the difficulties of the Taming :
She's such a shrew, if we should once fall out,
She 'll pull my costly sutes over my eares (p. 512). He was quite incapable of the admirable irony of Petruchio's
Why does the world report that Kate doth limp ?
O slanderous world ! or the charming application of the one classical allusion which he is permitted to retain :
O, be thou Dian, and let her be Kate. Katharine, like Petruchio, is heightened and refined by Shakespeare, but hardly perhaps with equal success. The headstrong virago of ii. I. is drawn with admirable verve; but her transformation into the large-minded exponent of the philosophy of
marriage is indicated with a slightness quite unexampled in Shakespeare's mature work; and the modern hearer is entitled to share in the amazed wonder with which that eloquent and impassioned harangue is heard by the assembled kindred of Kate the Shrew.
The author of A Shrew had already provided in substance the highly original and piquant induction. The Oriental jest of the 'Waking Man's Dream,' then for the first time, it would seem, put to dramatic use, was current in many versions; but the evidence points to his having found it in a lost collection of tales, published in 1570, by Richard Edwards, of Her Majesty's Chapel, a fragment of which probably survives in ‘The Tale of the Waking Man's Dream,' discovered by Norton in 1845. Here, at least, is found the incident which probably suggested the dramatic use of the story, and which many versions lack,2 the performance, namely, of a 'Comedy' before the supposed Lord. The Taming of A Shrew has no striking pertinence in this setting, nor is its want of pertinence turned to very humorous account. The happiest link between them occurs, as if by an afterthought, in the very last lines, when Slie, wakening from his dream’of shrew-taming, reels homeward to try the new-found cure upon his own goodwife.
1 The starting-point of all Goulart's Thrésor d'histoires the European versions seems to admirables et merveilleuses, and have been the anecdote of Burton's Anatomy of MelanPhilip the Good of Burgundy choly. The variants of this wideand a drunken artisan. This spread motif have been lately was told by Heuterus, De rebus dealt with in elaborate burgundicis, lib. iv., on the monograph, A. Weilen, authority of a letter of Ludovicus Shakespeare's Vorspiel zu der Vives, who professed to have Zähmung der Widerspenstigen. heard it from an old official of Philip's court. From Heuterus 2. It is not either in Burton the story passed a little later or in the Percy ballad of the than the date of our play into Tinker's good fortune.