Essay #2

Essay #2 - Israel 1 Alexander Israel Fumerton ENGL 105A...

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Israel 1 Alexander Israel Fumerton ENGL 105A Hicks , Tue . 6 P . M . March 12 , 2008 Importance of the Play within the Play in The Taming of the Shrew and Hamlet 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 the multi-faceted 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 . Shakespeare also uses the play within the play in other works , such as Hamlet which in contrast to The Taming of the Shrew takes on a more expository role. 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 . As opposed to Hamlet which employs the play within the play to reveal characters rather than mask them.
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Israel 2 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 to show that life is a role , disguises are arbitrary, and as soon as you come out of one role you are just taking up another one . “You will be schoolmaster / And undertake the teaching of the maid . / That’s your device” (1 . 1 . 192-4) . Tranio gets the great idea to disguise his master as a schoolmaster in order to teach the young lady , but what to do about Lucentio ? That matter is resolved by having Tranio pose as the nobleman Lucentio . This same device is developed by other characters as well . Hortensio demands for another to , “offer me , disguised in sober robes , / To old Baptista as a schoolmaster” (1 . 2 . 131-2) , in an attempt to trick others into thinking he is a teacher so he can be first to woo Bianca . It is evident how these two actors use the motif of role playing . Unlike
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This note was uploaded on 04/15/2008 for the course ENGL 105a taught by Professor Pfumer during the Spring '08 term at UCSB.

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Essay #2 - Israel 1 Alexander Israel Fumerton ENGL 105A...

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