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The disguises are important in this play because they allow the characters to go between the social barriers and also set up two questions; do the clothes make the man and can you judge a book by its cover? Each of the characters are temporarily successful with their disguise but eventually all falls apart. Immediately after meeting Petruchio, Kate sarcastically points out to her father in lines 282-284, “You have showed me a tenderly fatherly regard, to wish me wed to one half lunatic, a mad-cup ruffian and a swearing Jack.
Both Kahn and Cahn explain well the significance of money and the lack of importance of love in marriage in this play.
These critics also help show that marriage is a dominant theme in The Taming of the Shrew, but the reasons behind marriage are certainly different than what we think of them to be in our culture today. “Taming of the Shrew: Shakespeare’s Mirror of Marriage.
In the outer play, the lord dresses Sly up as a lord and makes the page boy dress as a wife to Sly, “I know the boy will well usurp the grace, Voice, gait, and action of a gentlewoman. These aforementioned characters all try to change their appearance in a plot to gain the love of the beautiful and succumbing younger sister of Kate, Bianca.
Lucentio and Hortensio believe that by becoming a tutor to Bianca, they can win her affections.
) To that idea, Cahn claims that we find out that Kate is not a shrew, that she is actually “a woman of warmth, wit, and passion”, and it is her sister who we find out is the real shrew in the ending scene (10).
I disagree with Cahn’s claim, but I do believe that he makes a good argument about the rest of the characters and also gives reason why disguise is used so much in this play. The two actually marry and Petruchio uses his skills to “tame” Kate.This comedy of Shakespeare’s covers the themes of disguise, marriage, and transformation.The clothes you wear can never fully hide the person beneath them. These disguises are central to the plot of the play as well as to the tone and the general entertainment. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew is not a play about passion and true love. Originally I had to agree with Pederson on this issue, partially because I feel that Bean’s argument is lacking a basis. Also, being a woman, I feel like being strong-willed in a man’s world is an asset that should be retained, neither to be beaten out of or lost by a woman. I could not see why Kate needed to be tamed at all, but just assumed it to be the time period in which the play was written. When I came across a book edited by Dympna Callaghan that explained that throughout the course of the sixteenth century, marriage changed to have new ideals that suggested “the equality of marriage partners, men and women,” (246), I was shocked. All it takes to reveal Tranio’s identity is for him to bump into the real Lucentio’s father, Vincentio. We find that the clothes are not what is important, just like Petruchio implies on his wedding day, “To me she’s married, not unto my clothes,” line 111.