The Taming of the Shrew

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An unnamed nobleman, the lord finds Christopher Sly drunkenly passed out and decides to play a trick on him, convincing him that he is actually a wealthy nobleman. He arranges for his servants to play along with the elaborate prank and has a group of traveling players (actors) put on for Sly the play that turns out to be The Taming of the Shrew.

A Lord Quotes in The Taming of the Shrew

The The Taming of the Shrew quotes below are all either spoken by A Lord or refer to A Lord. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Taming of the Shrew published in 2004.
Induction, Scene 1 Quotes

What think you, if he were conveyed to bed,
Wrapped in sweet clothes, rings put upon his fingers,
A most delicious banquet by his bed,
And brave attendants near him when he wakes,
Would not the beggar then forget himself?

Related Characters: A Lord (speaker), Christopher Sly
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: Ind.1.38-43
Explanation and Analysis:

The Taming of the Shrew begins with a strange "Induction," in which a drunken Christopher Sly, a beggar, refuses to pay what he owes, gets kicked out of a bar, and passes out. A Lord enters after finishing a hunt and notices Sly, unsure if he is "dead, or drunk." Finding the drunkard to be breathing, the Lord begins making fun of Sly and devises a prank to humiliate him.

The prank turns out to be more of a social experiment. In the quote, the Lord wonders what would happen if the sleeping Sly were brought to a nice bed, dressed in "sweet clothes" (which symbolize social status), brought delicious food, and given servants to tend on him when he woke up. What would happen, the Lord wonders, if Sly suddenly woke up and found himself in the position of a nobleman? "Would not the beggar then forget himself" and think that he truly was a wealthy nobleman? The Lord orders his men to orchestrate this elaborate plot, directing them like a troupe of actors. He asks them to do as he has described and refer to Sly as "your Honor" and "your Lordship" when he wakes. He also arranges for his page Bartholomew to crossdress (a common occurrence on the Elizabethan Stage, as all parts, male and female, were played by men) and pretend to be Sly's fictitious wife.

Just as the Lord is setting up his plan, a troupe of players (actors) enter. He asks them if they will put on a play for a Lord so that they will perform for Sly during the ruse. Their performance will be the actual play, the Taming of the Shrew. Thus Shakespeare stages scenes filled with theatricality, acting, performance, and changing identities to introduce a play within a play which is also filled with theatricality, performance, and changing identity.


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A Lord Character Timeline in The Taming of the Shrew

The timeline below shows where the character A Lord appears in The Taming of the Shrew. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Induction, Scene 1
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
A wealthy Lord enters, having just finished a hunting trip, along with several hunstmen. He notices the sleeping... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
A band of traveling players (that is, actors) arrive. The Lord asks them to perform for a lord (Sly). He then orders a servant to tell... (full context)
Induction, Scene 2
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...confused when servants address him as a lord, offering him fancy food and drink. The Lord is dressed as a lowly attendant and says that it is a pity Sly has... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
The Lord tells Sly, "O noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth," (Induction 2.30) and catalogues all... (full context)
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
A messenger enters, announcing that the group of players the Lord earlier hired is ready to perform. The messenger says that Sly's doctor thinks it will... (full context)