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Appearance versus reality is a major theme in Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming Of The Shrew and The Induction introduces the idea. Shakespeare is not merely writing a play here, but writing about the theatre of theatre itself, about disguise, acting and illusion reminding the audience of theatre itself being contrived. It’ s drama about drama.
This illusory start begins and unwinds the theme during the action of the ‘The Taming Of The Shrew.’ Appearance versus reality continues to intrigue and engage the audience. When Tranio is promoted to the character of Lucentio, this echoes Sly's own play on acting a lord's manner and there are many more such examples to confuse and intrigue the audience, engaging them and keeping them guessing for example Hortensio as Litio and Lucentio as Cambio and even the Pedant as Vincentio. The idea of disguise and the possibilities it brings when done well would have excited a repressed Elizabethan audience. They may even have wondered if the love itself was real.
The confusion between appearance and reality is also an important source of humor m The Taming of the Shrew. In the Induction, Sly is duped into believing that he is really a rich aristocrat rather than a tinker. Various other characters engage in deceptions. Hortensio pretends to be the music teacher Litio. Lucentio pretends to be the schoolmaster Cambio. He and Bianca use Latin lessons to shield their romance, and they outwit her father by eloping before her betrothal to someone else. Lucentio's servant, Tranio, turns tables as he pretends to be his master and persuades an old scholar to pretend to be his master's father. All of this was very exciting and naughty to the subdued audiences of the time, the poor of which must have longed at times to be their betters for a day.
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