TamingoftheShrewElizabethan.docx

The introduction also sets up a frame of which to

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are not given access to in the early parts of the play. The introduction also sets up a frame of which to view the later misconceptions and deceptions in the play through the beggar, Christopher Sly. Within the introduction, themes of misconception and disguise are planted into the play in the transformation of Christopher Sly’s identity. Christopher Sly, a beggar-turned-lord experiences brainwashing at such a high degree that Sly begins to believe his newly-realized and elevated status in society. In Shakespeare’s Comedy of Love , a book written by Alexander Leggatt, a professor at the University of Toronto, Leggatt examines the combination of misconception and guise creating a dream-like state, “In our eyes, of course, he never ceases to be Christopher Sly, and this gives his new role a comic piquancy (with a touch of pathos, if the actor wants to exploit it); but he is Christopher Sly with his mind opened to new possibilities, and –like the lovers of A Middsummer Night’s Dream , waking up after their night in the forest— unsure of what is dream and what is reality,” (Leggatt, 41). While Sly undergoes a change in identity, the audience still knows Sly’s real identity as a beggar. Sly however falls subject to the illusion created by the Lord and his servants. The Lord of the introduction has taken his brazen trick so far as to give Sly a bed, servants, and a wife. This immersive atmosphere leads Sly to believe and assume this new identity, Sly’s language use, even developing from prose to verse: “I do not sleep: I see, I hear, I speak. / I smell sweet savours, and I feel soft things. / Upon my life, I am a lord indeed, / And not a tinker, nor Christopher Sly” (Ind. 1. 66-69). After seeing the evidence manipulated and produced by the Lord, Sly believes he is a lord and the introduction provides a precursor to the topics of identity, disguise, and misconception where these plated, topical seeds bear fruit later on in the text. The topical fruits are later discovered in the storylines
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Chambers 5 of Lucentio and Katherine. Leggatt connects Lucentio and Katherine to the Lord’s manipulation of Sly, “Lucentio is sent into a dreamlike state by the sight of Bianca. Most important, Katherina’s mind is worked on by Petruchio as Sly’s is by the Lord, producing a similar sense of dislocation” (Leggatt, 42-43). Lucentio creates this new identity for himself as the audience sees him change from a student to a love-spelled courter upon seeing Bianca. Katherine is the shrew of the play that Petruccio must tame—Petruccio performing as the Lord to Katherine’s Sly. Many examples of disguise and unknown identities are present in Taming of the Shrew and its inclusion, as stated by Ashley Horace Thorndike, an educator and expert of Shakespeare, in his article titled The Minor Elizabethan Comedy , “became part of the stock-in-trade of Elizabethan dramatists. They were easily adapted to any kind of play or to any kind of subject, but they proved especially suited to realistic or satirical comedies of manners” (Thorndike, 9). Troubles with disguise, misconceptions, and identities were easily applicable to a play’s plot.
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