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The Taming of the Shrew Summary

Dear Friend, 

In this letter to you I am going to give you a nice summary of one of Shakespeare’s most famous and well known plays, The Taming of the Shrew! It is sometimes hard to understand which is why I will tell you about it instead of you trying to read it yourself, (since you will no doubt fail) so let’s begin. 

This play goes into the “Comedy” section of all the categories of Shakespeare’s plays. 

It starts out with a servant, named Sly who gets drunk after doing his duty to his master’s wife and falls fast asleep on a pile of hay. Then after a few minutes have passed his master comes and finds him asleep because of drink. Then the master decides he wants to make a fine game out of this; he dresses himself and his wife as servants, and he makes his companion pretend to be a girl. When Sly wakes up they treat him like the master and because of all the drinks he had he believes them. Then they decide to put on a play for him and his “wife” and so the rest of the story is a play, being held for this fake master by his fake servants. 

The play is about this man who had two daughters, both are very pretty, beautiful even, except for the oldest is very, very, very rude. She is a shrew, nobody likes her, and nobody wants to marry her. But the younger daughter is very nice and polite and everyone wants to marry her. The older daughters name is Katherina, and the younger Bianca. Their father has decided that before Bianca can marry anyone someone has to marry Katherina.  Then there comes this master and his servant who switches places because the master fell in love with Bianca, so to get close to her he becomes her teacher, and secretly tells her about the swap. Meanwhile, a man named, Petruchio, actually falls in love with Katherina and marries her, even though she is a shrew, promising all those who are watching that he will tame her. He does in fact tame her and Bianca marries her teacher/ master love. 

The way that Petruchio tames Katherina, is by being even more of a shrew towards her, than she is to him. And it works effectively. By the end of the play Katherina is the most behaved, and controlled, also sweet, out of the sisters, and their friends. The end scene is where all the people that you have interactions with, even if for just a second, are having a feast, and make a bet on the wives that are present. The bet is that all the men who have their wives present, will call on their wife, and the one who comes without an excuse, their husband will earn a large amount of money. So each in turn call upon their wife, but only Katherina, the “shrew” actually comes. And when she does she says that her duty as a wife is this: 

             “Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow, And dart not scornful glances from those eyes To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor. It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads, Confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair buds, And in no sense is meet or amiable. A woman moved is like a fountain troubled- Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty; And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it. Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee, And for thy maintenance commits his body To painful labour both by sea and land, To watch the night in storms, the day in cold, Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe; And craves no other tribute at thy hands But love, fair looks, and true obedience- Too little payment for so great a debt. Such duty as the subject owes the prince, Even such a woman oweth to her husband; And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour, And not obedient to his honest will, What is she but a foul contending rebel And graceless traitor to her loving lord? I am ashamed that women are so simple To offer war where they should kneel for peace; Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway, When they are bound to serve, love, and obey. Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth, Unapt to toll and trouble in the world, But that our soft conditions and our hearts Should well agree with our external parts? Come, come, you froward and unable worins! My mind hath been as big as one of yours, My heart as great, my reason haply more, To bandy word for word and frown for frown; But now I see our lances are but straws, Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare, That seeming to be most which we indeed least are. Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot, And place your hands below your husband’s foot; In token of which duty, if he please, My hand is ready, may it do him ease.”

And that, Friend, is my summary to you of The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare.  

 

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William of Orange

William of Orange was the prince of Orange in the sixteenth century.  He was the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish. When William was eleven years old his cousin, who was the former prince of Orange, died leaving William as the heir. William however was only allowed to be the prince of Orange if he got a Catholic education. This was hard for him because he had been raised, and grown up a Protestant. William believed (along with a few others as well) that Spain was being too controlling and so he did not like how Spain ruled the Netherlands. He also didn’t like how they were ruling because he was also fed up with all the religious persecution as he believed in religious freedom for all people. William was proclaimed an outlaw because he began to speak out and was financially involved within several revolts. Because of these things William began the Eighty Years war. This war ended with the Dutch gaining their independence from the Spanish Crown. William was killed in his own home in July 1584 by a catholic Frenchman. 

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Summary of Macbeth

Macbeth is a sad story; 

 

It begins with three witches talking about prophecies about Macbeth and how he shall become king, Macbeth hears this and asks them what they mean. They tell him how it will be done, step by step of how he will gain power and one day be king. 

Macbeth writes a letter to his wife telling her all about the encounter with the three witches. She then decides what to do to make him king. 

While Macbeth suddenly gets this huge reward for fighting bravely in this battle and step two out of three is done that the witches told him, so the last step is to become king. 

His wife comes up with a plan to kill the king. Her plan is to murder the king while he is sleeping and hide the bloody knives under the servants’ pillows that are also in the room. She then as an extra precaution kills the servants making it look like they killed the king, and felt so guilty about it that they killed themselves. This is actually believed when the other servants come in to check on the king, while Macbeth and his wife act just as sad and surprised as everyone else.

The whole story is sad and dark, and bloody, and is definitely a sad play. 

Lots of people die and it is definitely not my favorite Shakespeare play. 

You really should read it to understand exactly what I mean. 

In the end of the story Macbeth ends up dying, being slain by this man who has found out the truth, the sad part is that this man’s wife and children had been murdered by Macbeth, and so he was returning the ‘favor’. 

 

What I would have done if I was in Macbeth’s place? 

After hearing the witches I would be pretty stoked to become king, or queen, since I am a girl, and would most likely wait for all the things to come true. 

After the first ‘step’ or promise came true, it would be really exciting and I would definitely tell my husband, again since I am a girl it would not be my wife. 

I would definitely not murder the king even if my husband was psycho and wanted to, specifically because king Duncan in the story loves Macbeth and respects him, so if this happened to me he would have the same feelings for me, so I don’t think I would even think about killing him, I’d probably just dis-own my husband or divorce him or something. 

That way I wouldn’t end up dying, the king wouldn’t end up dying, and everyone would live a happy life. 

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The Divine Right of Kings

The Divine Right of Kings was made by king Louis XIV of France

The laws back then was that everyone had someone lower than themselves that served them and someone higher that they served. So when the line came down to the king, the king was supposed to serve all of his people. But instead Louis XIV decided he would make a new law. This law was about the same but different in one main way. The King only answered to God. He didn’t have to listen to anyone other than God if he didn’t want to. Now this law can be seen as good and bad, good if the power is used properly, and bad if it isn’t. Now plenty of the kings who believed in this new law took advantage of it and were very ruthless at times. Sometimes in history when kings get too much power we can see how they take advantage of it and use it to hurt others. 

                  The Divine Right of Kings, is it a terrible law, or an OK one? What do you think?