I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Friday, April 29, 2011

301. Literature: The Prototype of the Jerk - 1

Literature: The Prototype of the Jerk - 1
Often, while things are bad enough in real life, literature tops it with even worse examples.    I lately watched Shakespeare's play 'The Taming Of The Shrew'.    Years ago I have seen in a theater, and all I remember is the anger, that I felt.
Now I happened to find two versions of it, both obviously using the original text, but the adaptation and acting was quite different, so was the selection of the text used.   

1.  There is a very well made animated version made by the BBC, it is a cartoon appearing as if played by puppets.   
It is the sad story of a woman, Kathrina, who gets so much under a psychopath's ruthless power, that she not only is helpless under his domination, but her entire personality gets so much crippled, that she not only submits externally to her inferior role, but finally accepts it as appropriate for her.    
This is even worse than the Stockholm Syndrome and the Jerk Attachment Syndrome in entry 268.    In both syndromes, the victims gets in a paradox way attached to a jerk or a captor, but their sanity is at least as far preserved, that they are still aware, that they are the victims of an outrage.    Poor Kathrina in the play is in the end so brainwashed and mentally deformed, that she believes herself, that what had been done to her was to her own best.   She has not only been broken, but made believe to have been improved.    She is not herself any more.

The play was written more than 400 years ago, and set in a social situation, where the unlucky Kathrina had no chance to have any independent existence.    Not only her happiness and her subjective wellbeing, but her survival depended first on her father and then on the mercy of a husband.    Her father is a cruel brute, who merciless marries her off without even considering her consent.   His cruel decision to forbid the marriage of his younger daughter before Kathrina having been married has also divided and estranged the sisters.   Her sister wants her sacrifice for selfish reasons.    Kathrina is alone and has nobody to trust and to support her.   

The father marries her to a psychopath, who only wants the father's money and is not interested in Kathrina as a person.   She is a body for Petruccio, a commodity, an object to be used and abused at his convenience.  He values her not more than he values a dog or a horse, whose will he considers needs to broken.    Kathrina is not more than a piece of degraded and devalued merchandise traded between her father and Petruccio.   

Insensitive people think that this play is a comedy.   But even though it is superficially funny, in reality it is the tragedy of a broken destroyed life of a woman, who looses her dignity and ends as a  paradoxically happy doormat.    Maybe that was her only way of surviving the trauma of being married against her will to a psychopath.   She was married for life, in catholic Italy in those days, there was no way out for a woman from her plight, except maybe to escape to a convent.   

2.   Then I saw the movie from 1967 with Elizabeth Taylor.   That movie is unfortunately rather inconsistent.   In the beginning, Kathrina is presented as a weird and uncontrolled fury, who would even today be brought into therapy for anger management or even some more severe diagnosis.  
From the moment of the marriage on, she has become the unhappy intelligent woman with an independent spirit under the brutal domination of a jerk, similar to the other version.   Petruccio is presented a bit less cruel but still a dire fate for Kathrina, who seems to try to play the role of the pseudo-docile wife, as she is at the mercy of this psychopath and avoids anything, that would provoke more atrocities upon her.  
But the end does not fit, because the brainwashing into a deliberate doormat comes too abrupt and too sudden, and it is not clear, what caused it.   

No matter the divergent interpretations of the two versions, the play is psychologically dangerous, because emotional morons, jerks and other immature men are encouraged to become abusive.    The gist of the play is the message, that abuse succeeds.
The play feeds their dangerous delusion, that it is not only possible and acceptable to cruelly abuse a woman until she is broken and does not resist anymore to the life of a commodity, but even worse, that the woman in the end would be happy as a doormat.    If they get wrong ideas, that abuse is justified by the final acceptance of the victims, this encourages them to become abusers to real women.

Also interestingly enough, Kathrina is presented as if nobody would want to marry her.   The question, if maybe her father had caused an early death to his wife by his cruel treatment, and that Kathrina was justified in preferring not to marry to avoid the sad fate of her mother.   The play implicitly insinuates, that it is always beneficial for a woman to be married, even to a psychopath or a cruel jerk.   

After having written this far, I googled and found out, that there are quite a lot of other people also calling Petruccio a psychopath and an abuser and also explaining Kathrina's incomprehensible downfall as the Stockholm Syndrome.  As far as I have understood, these interpretations were based upon the text by Shakespeare, not upon any enacted interpretations.   Once again, I had my own ideas about the play, but they were too obvious to be original, others had them before me.