I wrote in the previous post about the trials that have hindered keeping up with the blog while traveling. Over the last week, the tribulation of illness made it impossible. I’ve kept up with my reading, but tribulation flowed through my books, too. The most obvious example comes from the chapters of Revelation that I’ve been reading as part of morning prayers. The political turmoil of fifteenth-century Italy that I’ve read about in Durant provides another example. When an Italian pope negotiates with a Muslim sultan for defense against a French king, takes the sultan’s brother for “safekeeping,” and then gives said brother to said French king to avert a French attack on Rome, can the end be far behind?
Reading The Taming of the Shrew is itself a tribulation. I remember the play tasting bitter the first time I read it, and I’m sorry to say that it did not improve with (my) age. The banter involves too many archaic puns for me to appreciate the humor in the dialog. And the story just doesn’t work for me. Petruchio has no business being sure he can tame Katharina before meeting her, yet against all common sense, his confidence proves to be sound. But can his method be believed? Can one unpleasant person realistically learn to submit so quickly to another? To top it all off, how could readers and audience members in the time of England’s Great Queen assent to the moral that women’s souls should be as compliant as their bodies? Romeo and Juliet is next for me, though, and its strong heroine will provide the perfect wine to cleanse all shrewish traces from my palate.