Changeling Nothing Is as It Seems

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Tiyah Hernandez-Pierrepont “A play in which nothing is as it seems”. How far do you agree with this reading? It can be argued that the foundations of “The Changeling” lie within the idea of deception and, to an extent, change, as implied in the title. Although only Antonio’s character is recorded as being the “changeling”, it can be argued that each character experiences a form of change, whether through the deception they create or are effected by. Despite the fact that it can be argued that the play’s anatomy is consistently laid bare for the audience due to the consistent asides, the idea that love is not as it seems, humour hides the tendencies of extreme violence of the characters and the characters themselves deceive each other, hints at the gothic theme of nothing being as it appears. The notion that “nothing is as it seems” is explored through the significant theme of deceit and deception. Arguably, this idea of deception is most strikingly seen within the sub-plot through “the changeling”. On introduction to Antonio’s character, Rowley deliberately hides the fact that Antonio is in fact sane, from the audience. Antonio enters the stage “like an idiot” and from that point retains his “mad guise” until finally he abandons the illusion of madness, telling Isabella to “cast no eye upon this change”. The verb “eye” links with the theme of deception explored throughout this tragic play, with De Flores explaining “I can see his brother’s wounds fresh bleeding in his eyes”. Here, it can be claimed that the “eye” represents ones inner soul and inner crimes and passions. This idea is principal to the tragic element of the play, as a majority of the characters “true” selves hide behind veneers of truth, questionably symbolised through the consistent switching between the two plots, creating an idea of a reality and an illusion, seen in the “fools and madmen”

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