Hints for Act I Scene 2 -
We're not just going to spell out the answer.
A dog is a NON-CAT, which sounds like it would pair nicely with this puzzle's title.
"Pretentious rodent" implies "arty rat" implies "R,T R-A-T" implies A. Each brace gives a word that can be paired with the word next to it, and then the process can be repeated.
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