Free Essays on Taming of the Shrew: Mistaken Identity

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The Taming of the Shrew: Mistaken Identity

In Shakespeare's comedy, The Taming of the Shrew, one of the main ways that the theme is shown is by mistaken identity. The main theme of this play is that what a person is really like is more important than how they appear to be. This is shown by Petruchio's relationship with Katherine; the changing roles of Tranio, Lucentio, and Hortensio; and the true characters of Bianca and Katherine. All three of these situations help to enrich the theme.

The first predicament that supports the theme is Petruchio's relationship with Katherine. When we first meet Petruchio, he is only after the money of Katherine, and accepts her harshness as simply a goal he must overcome. He is mistaken for a person who is only after money, not love at all. Yet when he meets Kate, he begins to fall for her. While he still argues and attempts to train her, it is for his own benefit. He wants her to be less harsh so she can fall in love with him. Petruchio ends up truly caring for and loving Kate, despite the front he puts up having his true identity revealed. As a result of this Katherine, whom we thought would never love anyone, at the end of the story is the only wife who comes when she is beckoned. The other wives only make up excuses. This shows how Kate has a mistaken identity because she appears rude and insolent. This situation is one of the ways Shakespeare uses mistaken identity to display theme.

Another part of the theme is that when a person changes outfit's and roles, their personalities and attitudes stay the same. The first and most prominent role change is the one between Lucentio and Tranio. Lucentio, in order to marry Bianca, exchanges outfits with his servant Tranio in order to become a tutor for Bianca. Although Tranio appears to be a nobleman, he is really just a simple servant. His identity did not change despite the fact that his outfit did. In the same fashion, Lucentio becomes Cambio, the tutor. His true self is as a nobleman, but due to his love of Bianca, he tries to change himself. Just like Tranio, despite the change of outfit, Lucentio's real personality is not altered. Hencefoth came Hortensio, the least successful prenteder. He too becomes a tutor for Bianca, but is rejected by her.

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