SIA Poll- Which Shakespeare character would you want to be your Valentine?

Shakespeare is known for creating some of the most famous (yet sometimes, tragic) lovers in literature. Would you want any of them to be your Valentine? Take the poll!

Give your real Valentine a unique gift this Valentine’s Day- Shakespeare Sonnets by Kids! They are selling fast, so be sure to get yours now!

SIA is also celebrating Valentine’s Day with our friends at DFilms with a Romeo and Juliet DVD and Blu-Ray Giveaway!


Shakespeare Relationship Stats- Kate and Petruchio

What better way to kick off the week leading up to Valentine’s Day than with a look at the love stats of one of Shakespeare’s most famous couples- Kate and Petruchio from The Taming of the Shrew!

Petruchio: Gold-digger
Kate: Shrew

Family status
Petruchio: Recently orphaned
Kate: Elder daughter, Daddy’s second favourite

Petruchio: “Why, he’s a devil, a devil, a very fiend.” (Gremio’s opinion, 3.2.154)
Kate: “Why, she’s a devil, a devil, the devil’s dam” (Tranio’s opinion, 3.2.155)

What they wanted from this relationship
“I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
If wealthily then happily in Padua.” (1.2.74-75)

“…we have ‘greed so well together
That upon Sunday is the wedding day” (2.1.190-191

Kate: “I’ll see thee hanged on Sunday first” (2.1.192)

How they met
It was quite a rocky start for these two. Both Katherine and Petruchio have…strong opinions, which get them into explosive situations. But on the upside, their first conversation is also their first fight (2.1.182-271), so that’s one relationship hurdle over and done with!

Top 3 bumps on the way to true love
1. The day they meet
There is friction in their relationship right from the beginning. Petruchio is in it for the money, while Kate isn’t in it for anything. In fact, she’d much prefer that it didn’t happen at all. She puts up a good fight, but as we are in the Elizabethan era, and she is the daughter of a wealthy gentleman with a reputation to protect, it’s her word against Petruchio’s. And he has no problem bending the truth to Kate’s father, Old Baptista:

“O, the kindest Kate!
She hung about my neck, and kiss on kiss
She vied so fast, protesting oath on oath,
That in a twink she won me her love.” (2.1.300-303)

2. The wedding
For a wedding that was thrown together by the bride’s family in the space of a week, very little of the drama is on Kate’s end. Petruchio shows up late, dressed in raggedy mismatched clothes, swears through the ceremony, assaults the priest, knocks back a bottle of wine and spews it in his guests’ faces. Not exactly anyone’s idea of a fairytale wedding.

3. The “honeymoon”
In true Petruchio fashion, he abuses his servants, sends away perfectly good food, spends all night making their bed and loudly complaining, “and amid this hurly [he intends] / That all is done in reverent care of her” (4.1.189-190).

Happily ever after
At the point when Petruchio tries to convince Kate that the burning midday day sun is, in fact, the moon, she finally give sin and accepts the fact that she has married a madman. Petruchio’s prediction at the beginning of the play that “where two raging fires meet together, / They do consume the thing that feeds their fury” (2.1.132-33) has finally come true, and these two raging fires live madly ever after.

Will it last?
Who better to set the devil up with than the devil’s dam? The (hell)fire of love between Kate and Petruchio is an eternal flame.

Wordy Wednesday – “Kill with kindness”


“Another way I have to man my haggard,
To make her come, and know her keeper’s call,
That is, to watch her, as we watch these kites
That bate and beat, and will not be obedient. 

This is a way to 
kill a wife with kindness,
And thus I’ll curb her mad and headstrong humour.
He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
Now let him speak; ’tis charity to show.” 

-William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


“You’ve gotta be

Cruel to be kind in the right measure,
Cruel to be kind, it’s a very good sign.
Cruel to be kind means that I love you,
Baby, you’ve gotta be cruel to be kind…”
-Nick Lowe (1949-)


The first quote comes from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, which is considered a “problem play” – it’s structured like a comedy, but the ‘happy ending’ we are led towards is a fierce, independent woman being tortured and ‘tamed’ by her husband in an arranged marriage. In this scene, the husband (Petruchio) describes starving his wife and depriving her of sleep until she is too broken down to resist him. The ‘kindness’ should be read very ironically; he does everything but beat her into submission.

If this is an inherently amusing idea to you, I’d love to ask you about the time machine you clearly rode here from another century.

The second quote comes from a modern(ish) pop song and is there because, funnily enough, however, when people refer to ‘killing someone with kindness’ nowadays the meaning is drastically different. Rather than constantly spying upon someone and controlling them, ‘killing someone with kindness’ refers to being extraordinarily generous and flattering towards them.

The idea is to be so unrealistically nice to the person that they get sceptical and start to wonder what you’re up to. It can be hard to shake our cultural cliche that there’s no compliment or benefit without a catch. The ‘kill’ part of ‘kill with kindness’ comes from making that suspicious person lose their mind with paranoia, waiting to figure out a ‘hidden agenda’ that never actually shows up.

We shouldn’t feel too bad about our society though; in Shakespeare’s day Petruchio is considered a hero who ‘wins’ by making his wife “asham’d that women are so simple / To offer war where they should kneel for peace” (V.ii.2669-70). Our society may be cynical and suspicious, but at least its women have made some strides towards being allowed by society to defend their own corner – so that they don’t have to feel like they’re being killed anyway, with kindness or without.

–David Windrim

Wordy Wednesday – “Break the ice”

Break the ice – The Taming of the Shrew

Parties, online dating, meeting new friends, starting a new job….all of these experiences involve ‘breaking the ice.’ It can be very awkward when first meeting people you don’t know. ‘What am I going to say, what are they going to say, is anyone going to say anything’. I don’t envy those who suffer from social anxiety. This world can be tough and cruel especially when meeting people for the first time.

Most people in the modern day use standard topics to break the ice. “What do you do, where do you live, isn’t the weather great, do you have a large family????”… etc. These examples are just a few ways in which people find comfort in breaking the ice.

Shakespeare the clever man that he  is coined the term and it can be found here in The Taming of the Shrew.

ACT I. SCENE II. Padua. Before HORTENSIO’S house. (continued)

A brash young man named Petruchio, newly arrived in Padua, goes with his servant Grumio to see Hortensio, whom he knows from Verona. Grumio and Petruchio become embroiled in a comic misunderstanding at the door, but eventually Hortensio comes down to greet Petruchio and ask why he is in Padua.


What!this gentleman will out-talk us all.


Sir, give him head; I know he’ll prove a jade.


Hortensio, to what end are all these words?


Sir, let me be so bold as ask you, 

Did you yet ever see Baptista’s daughter?


No, sir, but hear I do that he hath two, 

The one as famous for a scolding tongue 

As is the other for beauteous modesty.


Sir, sir, the first’s for me; let her go by.


Yea, leave that labour to great Hercules, 

And let it be more than Alcides’ twelve.


Sir, understand you this of me, in sooth: 

The youngest daughter, whom you hearken for, 

Her father keeps from all access of suitors, 

And will not promise her to any man 

Until the elder sister first be wed; 

The younger then is free, and not before.


If it be so, sir, that you are the man 

Must stead us all, and me amongst the rest; 

And if you break the ice, and do this feat, 

Achieve the elder, set the younger free 

For our access, whose hap shall be to have her 

Will not so graceless be to be ingrate.

Here is a link of 10 ways you can break the ice. Enjoy!


Wordy Wednesday – “Break the ice”

Today’s phrase is break the ice from The Taming of the Shrew, Act 1, Scene 2:

PETRUCHIO:  Sir, understand you this of me, in sooth:
The youngest daughter, whom you hearken for,
Her father keeps from all access of suitors,
And will not promise her to any man
Until the elder sister first be wed.
The younger then is free, and not before.

TRANIO:  If it be so, sir, that you are the man
Must stead us all, and me amongst the rest;
And if you break the ice, and do this feat,
Achieve the elder, set the younger free
For our access- whose hap shall be to have her
Will not so graceless be to be ingrate.

In this play, a man named Baptista has two daughters.  Bianca, the younger sister, has a couple men in love with her, but her father will not allow her to marry until his eldest daughter marries.  Katherina, the older sister, is sharp-tongued at best.  She is like ice – cold and hard to “crack” (it’s hard to reach her heart).  Petruchio makes it his mission to break the ice – to woo her and wed her.  And he succeeds.

Even now, this is a common phrase.  You know when you meet someone for the first time and there’s that awkward moment when you’re standing there, and the other person is standing there, and you’re both just standing there wondering what to say or do.  Then one person smiles, or says “Hello,” or sticks out a hand, or comments on the guy in the gorilla suit who just walked past – that person breaks the ice and make it easier for both people to move forwards in friendship, or, in the case of Katherina and Petruchio, as a couple.

So next time you find yourself in that situation, go ahead and break the ice!

break the ice