The Taming of the Shrew: Psychological Masks Essay

919 Words May 21st, 2011 4 Pages
In the play, The Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare, there is a recurring theme of people hiding their real identity. First, there are cases of deception, such as Tranio pretending to be Lucentio, Lucentio pretending to be a Latin tutor, Hortensio pretending to be a music tutor. More complex than these obvious examples of deception are Shakespeare’s clever uses of psychological masks. Several characters in the play take on roles that do not agree with their personalities. The psychological masks that they wear are not immediately apparent to the audience, or even to the characters themselves, until they are unmasked through the course of the play. Shakespeare mostly uses this device with the characters of Katherina, Bianca, …show more content…
Katherina comes to Petruchio when he calls, when other wives would not. In final show to the world that she is not a shrew at all, Kate returns two disobedient wives to their husbands, despite their protests. She delivers a speech to them on the need for women’s hearts to be as soft and beautiful as their womanly exteriors, showing, yet again, that she is not a shrew, but a loving, obedient wife. Bianca is given the psychological mask of being a nice, obedient girl. For example, Bianca tells her father that she will be glad to stay in her room with her books and music, pleasing him with her show of obedience. The reader’s first clue that this is not the real Bianca comes when she refuses to answer Kate’s question about which of her suitors she prefers. She replies by saying that she can’t answer, suggesting that she enjoys the attention of having three men compete for her attention, and does not feel the least bit ashamed to let two of them chase after her for nothing. When Lucentio speaks amorous words to her under the pretence of teaching her Latin, she says in reply that she does not know him or trust him, but that he should not be sad. This shows that she is willing to trick her father and allow a stranger pretending to be a teacher to woo her in secret. Finally, Bianca’s true colors show when she refuses to listen to her

Related Documents