Christopher Sly

Definition

Theater

  • A drunken tinker who appears in the Induction of Shakespeare'sThe Taming of the Shrew. Shakespeare mentions him as a well-knowncharacter of Wincot, a hamlet near Stratford-upon-Avon, and it seemspossible that in him we have an actual portrait of a contemporary.

    Sly is found dead drunk by a nobleman, who has him taken backto his own manor and put to bed. When he wakes up, the servants attendupon him like a lord and fool him into the belief that he is a great man;the play that follows is performed for his delectation.

    In The Taming of a Shrew, another Elizabethan playwith the same plot, Sly interrupts the performance more than oncebefore going home resolved to tame his own wife. Modern producersof Shakespeare's play sometimes incorporate the additional Sly scenesfrom A Shrew.

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