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The Shrew: Speeches and frames: “The” and “A”

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The “frame” concluded in The Taming of a Shrew.

Then enter two bearing of Sly in his own apparel again,
and leave him where they found him, and then go out.
Then enter the Tapster

Tapster: Now that the darksome night is overpast,
And dawning day appears in crystal sky,
Now must I haste abroad: but soft! Who is this?
What, Sly? Oh, wondrous. Hath he lain here all night?
I’ll wake him; I think he’s starved by this,
But that his belly was so stuffed with ale.
What how, Sly, awake for shame!
Sly: Sim, gi’s [give us] some more wine. What? All the players gone?
Am I not a Lord?
Tapster: A Lord with a murrain. Come, art thou drunken still?
Sly: Who’s this? Tapster? Oh lord, sirrah, I have had
The bravest dream tonight that ever thou
Had’st in all thy life.
Tapster: I marry, but you had best get you home,
For your wife will curse you for dreaming here tonight.
Sly: Will she? I know now how to tame a shrew.
I dreamt upon it all this night till now,
And thou has waked me out of the best dream
That ever I had in my life. But I’ll to my
Wife presently and tame her too
And if she anger me.
Tapster: Nay, tarry, Sly; for I’ll go home with thee,
And hear the rest that thou hast dreamed tonight.
Exeunt Omnes

(Bullough 1: 108)

Katherine’s big speech in The Taming of a Shrew

Kate: Then you that live thus by your pampered wills,
Now list to me and mark what I shall say.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The first world was a form without a form,
A heap confused, a mixture all deformed,
A gulf of gulfs, a body bodiless,
Where all the elements were orderless
Before the great commander of the world,
The King of Kings, the glorious God of Heaven,
Who in six days did frame his heavenly work
And made all things to stand in perfect course.
Then to his image he did make a man,
Old Adam, and from his side asleep
A rib was taken, of which the Lord did make
The woe of man, so termed by Adam then,
Woman, for that by her came sin to us,
And for her sin was Adam doomed to die.
As Sarah to her husband, so would we,
Obey them, love them, keep and nourish them,
If they by any means do want our helps,
Laying our hands under their feet to tread,
If that by we might procure their ease.
And for a precedent I’ll first begin,
And lay my hand under my husband’s feet.

(The text is modernized from the version provided by Geoffrey Bullough, Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare [London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966], 106-107.)

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This page last updated on 28 August 2006. © Michael Best, 2002.