William Shakespeare – The Taming of the Shrew (circa 1590)

INTRODUCTION:  William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, about a man who trains his new wife to submit to him, uses the language and techniques of falconry to describe the process of ‘taming’ her.  

Reading passages from the play alongside quotes and examples from two memoirs about training hawks, T.H. White’s The Goshawk (1951) and Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk (2014), reveals some of the strange ways that falconry does and does not parallel (or replace) a marriage or other significant relationship.  

ANNOTATED DOCUMENT:  ShakespeareWilliam_TamingoftheShrew


Annotations by:  Rachel Linn

The annotated text is adapted from: 

Works cited & consulted in the annotations: 

  • Benson, S. “”If I do prove her haggard”: Shakespeare’s Application of Hawking Tropes to Marriage.” Studies in Philology, vol. 103 no. 2, 2006, pp. 186-207. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/sip.2006.0006. Accessed 31 May 2017. 

  • “choler, n. and adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Accessed 31 May 2017.

  • “gaslighting, n.2.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Accessed 31 May 2017.

  • Macdonald, Helen.  H is for Hawk.  Grove Press, 2014.

  • Ramsey-Kurz, Helga. “Rising Above the Bait: Kate’s Transformation from Bear to Falcon.” English Studies, vol. 88, no. 3, 2007, pp. 262-281. Accessed 31 May 2017.
  • “shrew, n.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Accessed 18 May 2017.

  • “shrew, n.2 and adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Accessed 18 May 2017.

  • “Shrew.” Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 Apr. 2012. academic.eb.com.unr.idm.oclc.org/levels/collegiate/article/shrew/67533. Accessed 18 May 2017.

  • White, T.H. The Goshawk. New York Review of Books, 1951.