Shakespeare and the Shrew

Performing the Defiant Female Voice


Whenever Shakespeare wrote a 'shrew' into one of his plays he created a character who challenged ideas about acceptable behaviour for a woman. This is as true today as when the plays were first performed. A shrew is a woman who refuses to be quiet when she is told to be, who says things that people do not want to hear. She is constructed to alleviate male anxieties through ridicule, but like so many objects of comedy or derision, she is full of power because of her very ability to generate these anxieties. 'Shrew' is supposed to be an insult, but has often been used to describe women enacting behaviour that can be brave, clever, noble or just. This book marries an examination of Shakespeare's shrews in his plays with their history in recent performance, to investigate our own attitudes to hearing women with defiant voices.
  • Palgrave Macmillan; November 2012
  • ISBN 9781137291516
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Shakespeare and the Shrew
  • Author: Anna Kamaralli
  • Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan

About The Author

ANNA KAMARALLI is a Teaching Fellow on the Theatre programme in the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her articles have appeared in Shakespeare Survey and Shakespeare Bulletin.