TRICKERY AND DECEIT





William Shakespeare had a way of creating intelligent characters who made use of the art of deception for their own personal gains. Characters such as Lucentio and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew; Oberon and Puck in A Midsummer Night\'s Dream; Portia in The Merchant of Venice; and Richard in Richard III, all wanted to further their own agenda and did so in very sneaky and deceitful ways. These characters smartly used trickery and deceit to achieve their goals, and succeeded.
"And let me be a slave, t\' achieve that maid whose sudden sight hath thrall\'d my wounded eye, " (I.i.219-220) In The Taming of the Shrew, Lucentio has come up with a plan to woo his love Bianca. It involves his servant Tranio pretending to be him so that he can pretend to be a schoolmaster. Bianca\'s father, Baptista, has decreed that she stay locked up in the house until her sister, Kate, is married. The only people allowed in to see her are her tutors, one of which is Lucentio in disguise. Ironically, Lucentio came to Padua to study Philosophy and virtue. While disguised as Bianca\'s tutor, he woo\'s her and in the end he wins her heart and her hand in marriage.
Petruchio, who\'s one driving need is to marry a rich woman, uses trickery once he has wed Kate to change her from a shrew to a loving wife. He acts foul and ill-tempered
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toward all of his servants, more ill-tempered than Kate ever had, and at the same time he keeps reassuring her of her own good qualities, such as sweetness and kindness. She immediately sees from Petruchio\'s actions that her own shrewish ways were wrong and impossible for others to tolerate. At the same time, she realizes what kind of a person she is inside, the same kind of person that Petruchio has been insisting she is. Petruchio effectively tricks Kate into stopping the shrewish behavior so that she can be that kind of person. In the end, Kate is a more loving and attentive wife than her own sister.
In A Midsummer Night\'s Dream, the fairy king Oberon wants an Indian boy to be his henchman, but the fairy queen Titania will not give him the boy. They argue about it and Titania simply leaves. "Well; go thy way. Thou shalt not from this grove till I torment thee for this injury," (II.ii.146-147). Oberon has trickery on his mind. He enlists the help of Puck to find a magical love potion that resides in a flower. He will use the potion to make Titania fall in love with the first thing she see when she awakens, then before he takes the spell off, he will talk her out of her Indian boy. The beauty of this plotline is that Shakespeare overlaps the trickery of Puck with the trickery of Oberon. Puck turns the head of Bottom into a horses head, just for fun. When Titania wakes up, the first thing she sees is Bottom with the horses head, and falls in love with him. Oberon likes the way this works out, for the original intent was to get the boy, which he does, and to get revenge, which he also does. For the rest of the play, Puck runs amuck with trickery and deceit for his own amusement, and succeeds.
In The Merchant of Venice, Portia is a very intelligent lady left at the mercy of her father\'s dying wishes concerning marriage. She knows that all of her suitors are not good enough for her. She does love Bassanio and wishes to be his wife, which does happen.
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Yet she can not bring herself to trust him, so she sets upon her path of deceit to try and get a ring away from Bassanio that he had promised he would not take off for anything, and at the same time let Bassanio know that even though she doesn\'t mind that he has friends, she has to be number one in his life. She dresses up like a man and comes to the aid of Bassanio\'s friend, Antonio. She saves Antonio from the Jew scoundrel and devil Shylock, then wants the ring as payment. Bassanio at first says no, but then relents (with