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Essay #1 - Alexander Israel Fumerton ENGL 105A Hicks Tue 6...

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Alexander Israel Fumerton ENGL 105A Hicks, Tue. 6 P.M. February 18, 2008 The Matter of Role Playing Themes of memory and dreams echo throughout the works of Shakespeare as shown in the beginning lines of The Taming of the Shrew induction; “do I dream? Or have I dreamed till now?...And not a tinker, nor Christopher Sly” (Induction 2.66-71). Within the introduction, Sly contemplates the difference between his dreams and his memories, blurring the boundaries of the unconscious world and waking life. The Taming of the Shrew is unique in that the there are multiple facets of the play within the play scheme. Similar to the play within the play, the reality, or induction, is a play in itself. In this aspect of the drama, Shakespeare employs the motif of disguise to suggest that socially constructed roles are both ambiguous and arbitrary. In Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, the function of the play within a play supports the motif of disguise which shows that no matter what a person does he or she is always playing a role. Role reversals enable characters to cut across social positions and class. Although each of them is successful for a time, they must inevitably revert back to their original roles. This action poses the question of whether a person can change their position in life by putting on new clothes and partaking in a different role. The ultimate answer to this question is no. Shakespeare’s whole point of a play within a play is show that life is a role, disguises are arbitrary and as soon as you come out of one role you are just taking
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