Façades

Within The Taming Of The Shrew

Thematic Thesis Statement

Façades within the Taming of the Shrew are a common and integral part of the story, as many characters use them. Façades are an easy way for a character to hide their true selves from others, offering both protection and a disguise for carrying out whatever deeds they have planned, but if a character lets their guard down at any moment, their mask could be easily removed.

"Why, gentlemen, you do me double wrong, To strive for that which resteth in my choice: I am no breeching scholar in the schools; I'll not be tied to hours nor 'pointed times, But learn my lessons as I please myself."

This is a great example of how letting one's guard down can cause the facade to fall away, revealing that which it truly underneath. In this case, Bianca's sweet and quiet image falls away to reveal a power-thirsty, controlling woman underneath, who may very well be the true shrew of the story. Hortensio, being wiser and more aware of the world than his counterpart, Lucentio, sees the disguise fall away, revealing that this is not the woman that he would like to marry, as she does not portray the traits that he thought she did.

"Should ask, if Katharina should be his wife, 'Ay, by gogs-wouns,' quoth he; and swore so loud, That, all-amazed, the priest let fall the book; And, as he stoop'd again to take it up, The mad-brain'd bridegroom took him such a cuff That down fell priest and book and book and priest: 'Now take them up,' quoth he, 'if any list.'"

Here is another example where we see a facade crumble, as Petruchio slowly reveals that he does not care so much for Kate as it would first seem, attempting and working hard to embarrass her as much as possible, in order to force her into submission. Although Petruchio's true intentions are no longer a secret, it does not make much difference as he has what he wanted in the first place.

"Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow, And dart not scornful glances from those eyes, To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor: (cont.)"

In this passage, the monologue can help the reader to focus not on a crumbling facade this time, but one that is standing strong. In this case, it is Kate's arguable disguise that comes forth, shaming the other two wives for not rushing to their husbands' sides when called. Some people do believe that Kate's attitude in this scene is because she has been broken, but I feel that this is one Kate's many facades that allow her to bend people to her will. In this case, it is a win-win situation, as she helps Petruchio win the bet while also shaming her awful sister.

"how he beat me because her horse stumbled, how she waded through the dirt to pluck him off me, how he swore, how she prayed, that never prayed before, how I cried,"

Facades are an important part of The Taming of the Shrew, so it would only be sensible for there to be an abundance of them within the main plot. The passage highlighted above shows both the effectiveness and the breaking of the most important facade, which was held by Katherina. Throughout the first half of the story, Kate is portrayed as a shrew, but the fact that this "shrewdness" was all part of Kate's elaborate disguise is proven by her defense of Grumio, the servant, from the strike of Petruchio. This simple break of character proves that Katherina, while trying to hide it, is actually a very compassionate person.