The Taming of the Shrew

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Clothing Symbol Analysis

Clothing Symbol Icon
The Taming of the Shrew is filled with scenes involving the importance of clothing. In the Induction, Christopher Sly is dressed by the unnamed lord in wealthy clothes, while the Page dresses up as a woman. In the play proper, numerous characters—Lucentio, Tranio, Hortensio, and the merchant—dress up in various disguises. And while Petruchio does not wear a disguise, he wears a costume of sorts when he purposely wears bizarre clothes to his own wedding. He also refuses to let Katherine wear the dress and hat that he has had made for her for Bianca's wedding banquet. All this emphasis on clothing points out the significance of appearance and performance in establishing an identity, showing identity to be fluid and changeable.
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Clothing Symbol Timeline in The Taming of the Shrew

The timeline below shows where the symbol Clothing 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
...1.43) if the Lord had him carried away to a bed, dressed him in expensive clothes, and gave him an entourage of attendants. He tells the hunters to do this and... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 1
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...Lucentio is the teacher. Lucentio tells Tranio to pretend to be him. The pair exchange clothes, so that Tranio looks like a nobleman. Lucentio's servant Biondello enters and is confused to... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Biondello enters and announces that Petruchio is coming, but he is dressed in bizarre and old clothes (including two mismatched... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
The merchant agrees and thanks Tranio for helping him. As Tranio leaves to find suitable clothes for the merchant, he mentions that he will need Lucentio's "father" to make assurances about... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...and Hortensio enter. Petruchio has brought a large portion of meat with him, and demands that Katherine thank him for bringing her food. Katherine thanks him, and Petruchio allows her to... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...(iv.3.79) but he sends the haberdasher off and asks the tailor to show them Katherine's gown. As with the hat, he acts as if the gown is hideous and unacceptable. The... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Petruchio tells Katherine that they will go to her father's in their humble, everyday clothes, minimizing the importance of... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...to know Vincentio. Vincentio angrily beats Biondello, causing Biondello and the merchant to cry out that a madman is attacking them. Biondello leaves. Baptista and Tranio (still impersonating Lucentio) enter. Vincentio... (full context)