Date of Award
In this thesis, I take my cue from Emma Smith, who observes that John Fletcher’s The Woman’s Prize, or The Tamer Tamed is “a sequel, an homage, and a riposte to Shakespeare’s own Taming of the Shrew” (xii). While demonstrating Smith’s point, I also explore the ideology of marriage in Renaissance England, considering what it means to be a rebellious woman with respect to that institution. While, as Ann Jennalie Cook observes, “a play is not an exact replica of the customs of the time” (83), these two plays nevertheless illuminate the ways in which marriage customs during this period register considerable anxiety over the gender roles of husband and wife. Both plays deploy the motif of falconry to explore these gender dynamics. Whereas in Taming of the Shrew, it is a method taming the famed shrew of the title, Kate, in the Tamer Tamed, the process is reversed to tame the tyrant husband, Petruchio.
My thesis has three parts. Part 1 sets forth the ideology of marriage in Renaissance England to lay the groundwork for an understanding of how Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed engage with this ideology. In Part 2, I analyze the taming process of Kate, arguing that she is not completely tamed, and that her spirit never dies. Having set forth this foundation, I then show in Part 3 how Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed serves as a sequel, an homage, and a riposte to Shakespeare’s play, by focusing on the continuation of characters, ideologies and taming methods presented by of those characters; the presence of will that is illuminated through the female protagonists, Kate, and Maria; the evidence of love that exists in both marriages; the importance of being an obedient wife, and finally, the motif of falconry that is again incorporated into the play with an intelligent and feminist plot twist the second time around. In Part 4, I will conclude on the motif of falconry in retrospect to the natural humanistic and animalistic reactions to the imposition of desired actions against one’s own will, and how in a typical marriage, the spouses come to tame each other over time.
Brillante, Katherine, "The Ideal Elizabethan Marriage (Or Naught): How Fletcher’s Comedy, The Tamer Tamed Serves as a Sequel, Homage and Riposte to Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew" (2022). CUNY Academic Works.