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How is Deceit a Key Theme in the Play 'The Taming of the Shrew'?

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Introduction

Helen Russell How is Deceit a Key Theme in the Play 'The Taming of the Shrew'? 'The Taming of the Shrew' is a play written by William Shakespeare, an English playwright and poet born in 1564. It was first performed in 1593 in Shakespeare's first period as a playwright. It was later published for the first time in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death. Despite the fact that Shakespeare is mostly known for his tragedian plays, here in 'The Taming of the Shrew', he proves that he was capable of writing comedies as well. The word 'comedy' is described by the Collins English dictionary as 'a dramatic work of light and amusing character'. The same dictionary defines 'deceit' as 'the act or practice of deceiving', which means to mislead by deliberate misrepresentation or lies. The element of controversy in the play is very important as 'the Taming of the Shrew' incorporates many components that, in the time that the play was written, would have been both unethical and unacceptable, for instance the change of social classes between Lucientio and Tranio following their role changes. The dramatic irony linked to the ideas of disguise is due to the induction involving the deception by the lord that leads sly to believe that he in fact is also a lord that ...read more.

Middle

However, it is key that when Tranio is in disguise he becomes a more confident, and secure individual. Also his language becomes more individual and less complacent. The educated, upper class language that he uses when identifying himself to Baptista as a suitor to Bianca is totally dissimilar to that that he was using in Lucientio's presence. The role reversal between Tranio and Lucientio is controversial in the way that not only are they exchanging social roles but social class also. However, Lucientio's love for Bianca evidently is so immense that he feels that he would rather get close to her on a personal and intimate level in private than appeal to her father Baptista for permission for her hand in marriage 'While idly I stood looking on I found the effect of love-in-idleness'. This surmises that Lucientio considers his love for Bianca as lethargic and exhausted, and the use of such language demonstrates that he perhaps is deceitful to Bianca in the way that although he clearly is infatuated by her there is a chance that he cannot control his feelings and feels, at the time that he said it, that his love is not being gratefully received or even acknowledged. ...read more.

Conclusion

Baptista is the least deceptive of all the men as he perhaps deceives people subconsciously without fully understanding the reasons his behaviours is deceptive. For example, the way in which he plays the suitors us against each other for the hands in marriage for his two daughters he is clearly choosing upon wealth and nothing else. This implies that he doesn't care too much for whom his daughters marry just so long as they are rich and can support his daughters well. In some views this would be seen as a righteous act but in Elizabethan culture there would have been many more elements to a husband that should be taken into account for a daughter's husband, not just wealth and social class 'Thou can assure my daughter greatest dower shall have my Bianca's love'. We can surmise from this that Baptista had little respect or concern for the eventual husband of Bianca, and demonstrates yet another type of deceit in the play. To conclude, the play constantly indulges in the ideas of deceit, enlisting in deceptive behaviours and actions to achieve something. This leads us to believe that deceit is therefore a very key factor in the entire play and without it the Taming of the Shrew would be unsuccessful in its intentions as a comedy. ...read more.

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