William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew": A Retelling in Prose
This is an easy-to-read retelling of William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew." In it, Katherina vows before God — in the marriage ceremony — to love, honor, and obey her husband, but very quickly she makes it apparent that she is not taking her vow seriously. Her husband, Petruchio, is determined to convince her to take that vow seriously. More
This is an easy-to-read retelling of William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew." In it, Katherina vows before God — in the marriage ceremony — to love, honor, and obey her husband, but very quickly she makes it apparent that she is not taking her vow seriously. Her husband, Petruchio, is determined to convince her to take that vow seriously. At the end of this book, Katherina makes a spirited defense of Christian marriage.
I have a decision to make. Do I allow myself to be tamed, or do I continue to resist obeying my husband, Petruchio?
Or, better, do I tame myself?
If I am tamed through the use of hunger and lack of sleep, I am no better than an animal, a hawk that a trainer tames. If I am tamed, I will obey my husband, but I will do so without love and without honoring him. He will not get the wife he wants, and I will no longer be Katherina. I will have no spirit.
If I tame myself, I do what I have decided to do. The hunger and exhaustion do not determine what I shall do, although they make it clear that I need to make a decision. If I tame myself, and if I keep the vow that I made before God, I will love, honor, and obey my husband. I will still be Katherina, and I will still have spirit.
Should I tame myself? Has being a shrew made me happy?
I have tied up and beaten my own sister because she would not tell me which of her suitors she liked best. She said that she had no preference. I did not believe her.
Is that the kind of person I want to be? Is that the kind of person God wants me to be? No.
And is that the kind of wife that Petruchio wants me to be? No.
What kind of husband do I want Petruchio to be? Do I want him to be a husband who ignores me? No. Do I want him to be the kind of husband who will tolerate a shrewish wife? No. I need a husband I can respect, a husband who has as much spirit as I have.
I have learned how shrewish behavior affects other people. It is not pleasant to witness. I have learned to consider the feelings of other people — now I have empathy for other people and do not want to see them harshly criticized for minor faults or for things that are mostly or entirely out of their control.
If anyone needs to be tamed, I do. I need to decide whether I should now tame myself.
If I tame myself, how will be I benefit? I will be a better person, and most likely, I will get a better husband. Is Petruchio a bad husband? Does he always act like this? Will he continue to act like this if I tame myself? I doubt it. It is obvious that he seriously takes the vow I made before God — to love, honor, and obey my husband. I think that he seriously takes the vow he made before God — to love and cherish his wife. If he had no intention of keeping his vow, he would ignore me and allow me to remain a shrew. Instead, he is going to great lengths to be married to a good wife. Also, what he does to me he is doing to himself. I am hungry, and I can look at him and see that he has lost weight. I sleep very little, and he sleeps very little so that he can ensure that I stay awake. He treats his wife as he treats himself.
But am I his wife? Are we husband and wife? Not yet. Not really. We have not consummated the marriage. I respect that in him. He is not a rapist. He will not sleep with me and consummate the marriage until I am the wife he wants and until I truly embrace a Christian marriage.
So, I have a decision to make: To be a shrew, or not to be a shrew?