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Theme of Appearance vs Reality

One of the primary themes in literature and drama examines the issue of appearance versus reality, often in terms of some delusion held by a character or characters. William Shakespeare explores this theme in various ways in many of his plays, and explorations of the issue can be found in Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew. The theme is embodied in both plays in the way certain characters play-act or pretend to be someone they are not, which links the questions of appearance versus reality directly to the drama itself. In the drama, actors pretend to be other people and act out versions of reality before an audience, and both the exploration of the question of what is reality and the way that exploration is presented rely on the contrast between illusion and reality.

Both plays are also love stories, and aspects of love are examined as they relate to the question of what is real and what is illusion. In The Taming of the Shrew, This play features two couples, one couple openly in love, the other couple openly battling their way to the feeling of love without knowing that is what they are doing. The two males are pursuing the sisters, Bianca and Kate, and both relationships are complicated by the conditions placed on the two young women by their father. Lucentio loves Bianca, and though he wants to woo her, he will have to wait for Kate to be married first, as her father states:

Gentlemen, importune me no farther, For how I firmly am resolv'd you know;

That is, not to bestow my youngest daughter

Before I have a husband for the elder. (I.i.55-58)

At Lucentio's urging, Petruchio woos Kate so as to remove her from the marriage line and leave Lucentio free to marry Bianca.

Petruchio resolves to win Kate though he knows this will be difficult--she is known as a shrew and is feared by nearly everyone. Kate has been driving away every man she meets for some time, which contras...

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Theme of Appearance vs Reality. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:58, October 01, 2020, from