Shrewd

26 Nov

Whitney and Hazel

The women in my family are shrewd. Whitney, my sister-in-law and her daughter can be seen here enjoying my wife’s cheese cake. She made it after a pretty serious operation on her thyroid last week, when she ‘should have been’ resting.

Whitney to me “You realise that the thyroid is where her 5th Chakra lies, the connection between her passion and her higher function?” I was struck by this, as the throat is often the first thing to be constricted when I am depressed. I literally can’t sing.

The cheese cake was the energy exchange between my women – love out, love in.

William Shakespeare’s eloquence sometimes lacks this shrewdness.

His comedy, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ is misclassified in my view, though I am drawn to it.

It is a mysogenistic tragedy.

In the play Petruchio courts the headstrong and independent Katherine, the eponymous shrew, as part of a ruse by fellow suitors to win the hand of her younger sister Bianca.

Bianca is desired by the men in the story because she is, in their eyes an ‘ideal woman’; beautiful, pliant and subservient. Katherina, is seen as headstrong, argumentative and ill tempered – like a shrew.

Petruchio spars with Katherine:

“Petruchio: Come, come, you wasp; i’ faith, you are too angry.
Katherine: If I be waspish, best beware my sting.
William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

Ultimately Petruchio succeeds in breaking Katherina’s spirit, by denying her food and water and wearing her down most cruelly. He realises, too late that he has broken the very person he truly loves.

I have seen the play a few times, most recently at the Botanic Gardens in Sheffield where Abigail Castleton of Heartbreak Productions was a brilliant Katherine.

The film ’10 things I hate about you’ starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger is an upbeat modern version.

When I saw it I thought ‘Nothing Ever Changes’. Now I think we may be experiencing a paradigm shift – a term usually applied to seismic changes in scientific thinking.

“Though she be but little, she is fierce”

Clare, my wife when she was Hazel’s age – alike in many respects: tiny, fierce and independent. Does not respond to imperatives like ‘should’.

As you probably know, shrews are tiny insectivorous mammals; incredibly busy creatures, absolutely fearless – so active in fact, that their super fast metabolism drives them to hunt all the hours they are awake. If they don’t eat, they die, so stressed are shrews. I admire their moxie a wonderful North American word meaning courage and aggressiveness.

In this clip, a tiny North American shrew exacts fatal retribution on a big old snake.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1TIj3qhZcl

Shrews will never be for taming.

Recently, with the Harvey Weinstein debacle, we have all witnessed the outing of predatory men in the media, and more widely with the #MeToo campaign by women with moxie, pushing back against their male abusers.

Not so much the ‘Taming of the Shrew’ as the ‘Taming By the Shrews’.

Women have betimes enjoyed high status. In pagan times some women were warriors, held power and were greatly revered, they inspired tales of the Valkyries of Norse Mythology. Yet, women still achieve success almost invariably against the backdrop of a patriarchal hegemony.

I believe we are on the cusp of a societal change in the Western World. Social media and the current technological revolution has levelled the playing field somewhat in favour of their shrewd skills.

Here’s a thought chaps….

PS with special thanks to my daughter Polly for her input x

One Response to “Shrewd”

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  1. Alchemy | Woodenhenk - November 29, 2017

    […] Impiety the universal elixir and precursor to the gaining of knowledge. […]

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