Essay on Deception in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew

Words: 915
Pages: 4

Analytical Essay
Year 10 English

In the Shakespearian play: The Taming of the Shrew, deception is one of the major concepts. A tangled web is created in the play through deception of character behavior and the change between clothing and class. Most of the deception in the play have particular motives behind them and create dramatic irony. Shakespeare has used dramatic irony to create a comedic play.

Character deception in The Taming of the Shrew is used largely, and Lucentio one of the main characters in the play uses deception throughout some of the first few acts. Lucentio, upon seeing the beauty of Bianca ‘falls in love at first sight’ and wishes to conjure a plan to woo her. Tranio (Lucentio’s best-friend) assists
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He is the target of a prank, little does he know, yet the reader/audience may again find this humorous. Petruchio deceives Katherine through ‘love’ where it may appear as cruel to Katherine. The reader/audience may also find this method of taming cruel, yet this is still an example of dramatic irony.

Other key points of deception in this play involve the subverting of gender and social roles. When the disguises are put in place, social and even gender roles are mismatched. When Lucentio becomes Cambio, he switches from becoming a university student, to a schoolmaster. When Sly is the subject of deceptive prank, a lowly tinker becomes is a lord. These are examples of the subversion of social roles, however, there is an example of subversion of gender roles especially in this play. When Sly is in the midst of being convinced he is a lord, his ‘wife’ a boy dressed in female clothing finally pushes Sly to believe he is a lord. And furthermore, in Shakespearian times, men played female roles, as women were not allowed to act.

Clearly, in analysis of The Taming of the Shrew, deception is a major concept. A tangled web is created through all of the deception methods such as character deception and subversion of social and gender roles. Dramatic irony is also used to create a comedic sense throughout the play. In the words of a famous author and novelist:

“Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.”

Sir Walter