57 pages • 1 hour readWilliam Shakespeare
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Christopher Sly, a drunken peddler, has once again fallen asleep in the street after being kicked out of a pub for breaking glasses and refusing to pay his tab. A lord happens by with his companions, and after tut-tutting over Sly’s condition, the gentlemen come up with a scheme: They’ll transport the sleeping Sly to the lord’s house. When Sly awakes, they’ll all behave as if he’s a fine gentleman who has been suffering from the delusion he’s a peddler. They’ll provide him with all kinds of treats, from delicious food to naughty pictures to a wife (a pageboy in disguise), and they’ll see if he buys it.
The scheme goes according to their plan. Bewildered at first, Sly quickly warms to his new life. And while he’s disappointed that his lovely wife won’t go to bed with him, he’s excited to sit down and watch the entertainment planned for his evening: the very play we’re all about to see.
The play begins in earnest. An idealistic young Pisan nobleman named Lucentio has just arrived in Padua to attend its famous university, and he’s full of noble thoughts about all the studying he’s about to do.
By William Shakespeare