chapter
28 Pages

Introduction: Shakespeare, Narrative and Art

In the Induction to The Taming of the Shrew, one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, a Lord and his servants perpetrate an elaborate confidence trick upon the hapless tinker Christopher Sly, in an attempt to make him believe that he, too, is a Lord. Part of this process of persuasion and seduction involves the description of several works of pictorial art:

2 Serv. Dost thou love pictures? We will fetch thee straight Adonis painted by a running brook, And Cytherea all in sedges hid, Which seem to move and wanton with her breath, Even as the waving sedges play with wind. Lord. We’ll show thee Io as she was a maid, And how she was beguiled and surpris’d, As lively painted as the deed was done. 3 Serv. Or Daphne roaming through a thorny wood, Scratching her legs that one shall swear she bleeds, And at that sight shall sad Apollo weep, So workmanly the blood and tears are drawn.1