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The Taming of the Shrew A Perceptual Ability TestA recurrent theme In Shakespeares plays is the idea that things are not always what they seem The Taming of the Shrew shows a good example of this theme In this play we find many discrepancies between what seems to be and what is The main theme of this play is knowing what a person is really like is more important than how they appear to be This is shown by Petruchios 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 themeThe play begins with an induction in which a drunkard Christopher Sly is fooled into believing he is a king and has a play performed for him The play he watches is what constitutes the main body of The Taming Of The Shrew In it a wealthy landowner Baptista Minola attempts to have his two daughters married One appears to be very shrewish Katherine while the other Bianca is the beautiful and gentle one In order to ensure Katherine is married Baptista disallows Bianca to be espoused until Katherine is wed forcing the many suitors to Bianca to find a mate for Katherine in order for them to vie for Biancas love Many critics of the play condemn it for the blatant sexist attitude it has toward women but closer examination of the play and the intricacies of its structure reveal that it is not merely a story of how men should put women in their place Saccio 40 The play is in fact a comedy about an assertive woman coping with how she is expected to act in the society of the late sixteenth century and of how one must obey the unwritten rules of a society to be accepted in it Leo Hughes provides the reader with a reasonable and rationale purpose of the play
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