Notes on Taming of the Shrew Themes

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Taming of the Shrew Topic Tracking: Deceit

Deceit 1: The play begins with deceit (and its corollary of mistaken identity). When the Lord finds Christopher Sly drunk and asleep on the street, he takes him away with him and intends to deceive not only him, but those around him. He gets his laughs from deceiving poor people, such a Sly. He intends to deceive him into believing that he is a wealthy Lord, by dressing him up in rich clothing and having his servants attend to him.

Deceit 2: The first to come up with the plan, Tranio and Lucentio plan to deceive Baptista. In order to get behind the walls of the house, Lucentio will assume the identity of a schoolteacher to be close to Bianca. They will deceive the Paduan community all in the name of love (or rather lust).

Deceit 3: Lucentio and Tranio deceive Biondello into believing not only that they have exchanged identities, but also that they have done so for good reason. They exclaim that Lucentio killed a man in a duel upon arriving in Padua and must protect his identity this way. Biondello believes them and agrees to keep their secret of lies.

Deceit 4: Hortensio reveals his plan to Petruchio. He will also deceive everyone and assume the identity of a schoolteacher so that he may live behind the walls of Baptista's house and be close to Bianca, as well. His plan is almost identical to that of Lucentio's, as deceit seems a common action in this setting of Padua.

Deceit 5: Petruchio plans to woo Kate, no matter what it takes. If he must use deceit and lies by telling her that she is beautiful when she is not, he will do so. He tells her that she plays music elegantly, when she makes horrid sounds with the lute, and that she is beautiful, when in fact she looks rather shrewish.

Deceit 6: Petruchio admits to the audience that he is deceiving his wife into believing that he is a cruel man. He is doing so to cure her of her shrewish nature. He plans to continue to deceive her until she acts like a true, obedient, loyal woman.

Deceit 7: Tranio stops the Pendant on the street and tells him that it is illegal to enter Padua from Mantua. Whether this statement is true or not, is unknown. However, he further convinces this Pendant to impersonate Vincentio and complete the match between Lucentio and Bianca. The Pendant agrees to impersonate and deceive Baptista and the rest of the Paduans so that his false son, Lucentio, may marry his beloved Bianca.

Deceit 8: Petruchio announces his plan of deceit to the audience. He is not truly such a madman or such a shrewish creature. His devilish actions are false and part of his plan to tame Kate, the shrew. He is deceiving her of his true nature so that she will become a lady. However, as he deceives her, he is also subtly deceiving the audience to believe that he is the person of whom he acts. He continues to let the audience in on his little deception and his little plan, but does not allow Kate to see his honest persona.

Deceit 9: Tranio continues to deceive Baptista as Lucentio, while he and the Pendant further continue their trickery. The Pendant impersonates Vincentio and makes the final match between Lucentio and Bianca. They successfully deceive Baptista into believing that these two poor commoners are the wealthy men, Lucentio and Vincentio of Pisa.

Deceit 10: Tranio continues to deceive Vincentio, by calling him a madman. He also continues in his impersonation of Lucentio, by deceiving not only Vincentio, but the rest of the Paduan community.

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