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Illusion versus reality in taming of the shrew by william shakespeare

Reality and illusion as brought out in shakespeares the taming of the shrew

Illusion Sly In The Taming of the Shrew, the theme of illusion, metamorphosis and reality is established in the opening scenes of the Induction, where Christopher Sly is persuaded that he is a lord and treated with respect and honour. The distinction between illusion and reality is blurred as Sly is gradually convinced that he is other than who he thought he was.

Whatever metamorphosis Sly undergoes is a superficial one which touches his language and behaviour rather than his identity or character.

Illusion, metamorphosis and reality

It is also unclear what purpose the joke has and whether Sly will even know it was real when he awakes from his second drunken slumber. Will the Lord and his attendants send him on his way with memories of a wonderful experience, or will they disabuse and dishonour him, so that he is in the same condition as when he first arrived on stage? Vincentio Vincentio provides an example of when illusion goes beyond a joke and causes very real distress.

His anger at having been so abused is understandable when the illusion is finally shattered by the timely arrival of his son.

Whats the theme of taming of the shrew by Shakespeare?

Temporary metamorphosis Whilst Vincentio resists the illusion forced upon him, Tranio and the Pedant are willing participants and there is humour for the audience as they relish the opportunities conferred by their new status.

With no apparent effort, they metamorphose into a learned, rich and witty gentleman and grave and wealthy father respectively, as if born for the roles.

Shakespeare conveys the liberation conferred by disguise.

Appearance vs. Reality

Reflecting a more fluid Elizabethan society, young men can make themselves into whatever they would like to be, no longer held back by distinctions of wealth or family. However, Shakespeare is perhaps also making a point about how precarious such social metamorphosis is. He takes her out of her familiar environment and on a journey of self-discovery through a series of dilemmas that cannot be resolved by shrewish responses.

In Padua Katherina had been known as an aggressive, shrewish young woman and men such as Baptista, Gremio and Hortensio had confirmed the role she played by treating her as a stereotypical shrew. By flouting social convention and dismissing public opinion in much the same way as Katherina does, he allies himself with her against social opprobrium, whilst also robbing it of its power over Katherina.

A new reality By the end of the play Petruchio and Katherina are able to create their own reality by working together. Initially, they do this by themselves creating a playful illusion, pretending that an old man they meet is a young woman: Young budding virgin, fair and fresh and sweet, Whither away, or where is thy abode?

Illusion versus reality in taming of the shrew by william shakespeare

Happy the parents of so fair a child; Happier the man, whom favourable stars Allot thee for his lovely bed-fellow! Why, how now, Kate! I hope thou art not mad: This is a man, old, wrinkled, faded, wither'd, And not a maiden, as thou say'st he is.

Illusion versus reality in the taming of the shrew by william shakespeare

Pardon, old father, my mistaking eyes, That have been so bedazzled with the sun That everything I look on seemeth green: Now I perceive thou art a reverend father; Pardon, I pray thee, for my mad mistaking. Act 4 Scene 5 When they reach Padua and the machinations of the sub-plot unravel around them, Petruchio and Katherina stand aside and watch it, laughing together and commenting on what is going.

The Taming of the Shrew Contents

Their new relationship gives them a fresh perspective on the relationships of others and their enjoyment of their revitalised partnership is evident.

Katherina has been liberated from her background and metamorphosed into a woman apparently fulfilled. Ultimately, the new reality Petruchio and Katherina create in their relationship is shown by the way in which they win the wager in the last scene.