The Castle of Otranto

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Bianca Character Analysis

A servant and confidante of Hippolita, Matilda, and Isabella. Silly, nosy, and superstitious, Bianca often gossips and shows that she is willing to be deceitful when she tries to pry into Theodore’s life and when she agrees to be Manfred’s spy. On her way to spy on Isabella, Bianca witnesses a giant hand in armor that scares her and causes her to inadvertently reveal Manfred’s bribe to Frederic. She often provides comic relief in an otherwise melodramatic story.

Bianca Quotes in The Castle of Otranto

The The Castle of Otranto quotes below are all either spoken by Bianca or refer to Bianca. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Humor, the Gothic, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of The Castle of Otranto published in 2004.
Chapter 2 Quotes

“O that dear mother! yes, Bianca, ‘tis there I feel the rugged temper of Manfred. I can support his harshness to me with patience; but it wounds my soul when I am witness to his causeless severity towards her.” “Oh! madam,” said Bianca, “all men use their wives so, when they are weary of them.” “And yet your congratulated me but now,” said Matilda, “when you fancied my father intended to dispose of me!” “I would have you a great lady,” replied Bianca, “come what will. I do not wish to see you moped in a convent, as you would be if you had your will, and if my lady, your mother, who knows that a bad husband is better than no husband at all, did not hinder you—”

Related Characters: Matilda (speaker), Bianca (speaker), Manfred, Hippolita
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

At the beginning of Chapter 2, shortly after Isabella’s disappearance, Matilda is in her room, ruminating over the day’s events in the company of her servant Bianca. Ever the dutiful daughter, Matilda is used to her father’s indifference but cannot stand his poor treatment of her mother. Bianca’s explanation for Manfred’s behavior, that all men “use” their wives, and her belief that women should be married, suggest that in her view, women are meant to be married and to be “used” – that women are objects that exist for men.

In contrast, Matilda’s desire to become a nun is thus a desire to remain independent of a male-dominated society in which women are oppressed.

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Bianca Character Timeline in The Castle of Otranto

The timeline below shows where the character Bianca appears in The Castle of Otranto. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Class, Comedy, and Tragedy Theme Icon
...disappearance, and the ominous tone and rage Manfred had exhibited toward her mother. Her servant, Bianca, fills her in on the latest gossip about the discovery of the young peasant and... (full context)
Lineage and Leadership Theme Icon
Gender and Marriage Theme Icon
When Bianca speculates about Manfred’s desire for grandsons, the two women have a discussion about marriage, in... (full context)
Class, Comedy, and Tragedy Theme Icon
Gender and Marriage Theme Icon
While the women are talking, they hear a voice from the room below Matilda’s. Though Bianca becomes terrified that it is a ghost, Matilda opens a window and realizes that it... (full context)
Class, Comedy, and Tragedy Theme Icon
Bianca reveals that the servants believe the stranger helped Isabella escape. She insinuates that the stranger... (full context)
Humor, the Gothic, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Lineage and Leadership Theme Icon
Class, Comedy, and Tragedy Theme Icon
...for questioning. As Manfred begins to question the peasant, whose name is Theodore, Matilda and Bianca happen to be walking by. Seeing for the first time the stranger with whom she... (full context)
Chapter 5
Class, Comedy, and Tragedy Theme Icon
...he quickly leaves to inform Frederic. On the way back to Frederic, though, he meets Bianca. Knowing that Bianca is Isabella’s and Matilda’s confidante, he tries to ascertain the exact nature... (full context)