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Journal > Volumes > 46 (2015) / 2 (Summer)
“I Will Be Master of What Is Mine Own”: Fortune Hunters and Shrews in Early Modern London
Eleanor Hubbard
Princeton University

A London divorce case from 1590 suggests that the early modern reception of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew would have been very mixed. With methods that paralleled those of Petruchio, Christopher Percy tried to “tame” his wife to force her to give up her estate and her jointure. While Petruchio tamed his shrew, Margery Percy, a remarried widow, resisted her husband’s efforts and successfully sued him for separation on the grounds of cruelty and adultery. The close timing of the court case and the play (often dated between 1589 and 1592) suggests that Percy may have been inspired by the play, or even that gossip about the case served as a source for the play, for which no printed source has been identified.The differences between the domestic tragedy and the romantic comedy provide insight into the aspirations and anxieties of early modern London men and women concerning marriage.

Pages: 331 - 358