In Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, what does Lucentio's opening speech reveal about his character?
In Act 1, Scene 1 (after the Introduction) of The Taming of the Shrew, we meet Lucentio and Tranio, two men recently arrived in Padua. Based on Lucentio's opening speech, we can assume much about his character. First of all, he gives off the impression that he's a young man setting out on his own for the first time, as he says, "I have Pisa left / And am to Padua come, as he that leaves / A shallow plash to plunge him in the deep / And with satiety seeks to quench his thirst" (21-4). In this quote, it seems like Lucentio is characterizing himself as someone who has recently been relegated to the shallow end of the pool (adolescence) and is now ready to plunge into the deep end (adulthood). Furthermore, it seems as if Lucentio is preparing to study in academia, as he declares, "Here let us breathe and haply institute / A course of learning and ingenious studies" (8-9). Clearly, Lucentio is preparing to enroll in school or university. Finally, Lucentio appears to come from a significantly privileged background, as he characterizes his father as a successful merchant and says he plans "to deck his fortune with his virtuous deeds" (16). All in all, based on his opening speech, we can assume that Lucentio is an ambitious and privileged young man setting out from home to pursue success in school and beyond.