The Taming of the Shrew

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Baptista Minola Character Analysis

The wealthy father of two daughters, Bianca and Katherine, Baptista establishes a rule that no man may marry Bianca until his older daughter Katherine is married. This is Baptista's way of ensuring that someone will marry the ill-mannered, stubborn Katherine. Throughout the play, Baptista seems more interested in potential son-in-laws' financial matters than their love for Bianca (or Bianca's love for them). He eagerly marries Katherine off to Petruchio against her will and only assents to marrying Bianca to Lucentio because he makes the best offer of a dower (the money Bianca would be entitled to in the case of Lucentio's death).

Baptista Minola Quotes in The Taming of the Shrew

The The Taming of the Shrew quotes below are all either spoken by Baptista Minola or refer to Baptista Minola. 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:
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Taming of the Shrew published in 2004.
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

Nay, now I see
She [Bianca] is your [Baptista's] treasure, she must have a husband,
I must dance barefoot on her wedding day
And, for your love to her, lead apes in hell.
Talk not to me. I will go sit and weep
Till I can find occasion of revenge.

Related Characters: Katherine (speaker), Baptista Minola, Bianca
Page Number: 2.1.34-39
Explanation and Analysis:

This strange scene begins with a striking interaction: Katherine has tied up Bianca and is hitting her, demanding that she say which of her suiters she most prefers. When Baptista enters to discover the scene, he unties Bianca and calls Katherine a devilish spirit, yelling at her for abusing her sister. This scene can be interpreted literally, or playfully. Many modern productions choose to make the violence humorous, making it a kind of ironic parody of Katherine's eventual taming and lightening the themes of abuse and starvation that follow.

But the scene can also be read as one of violence, bondage, and a bitter sibling rivalry. Such a reading may be reinforced by Katherine's lines in the quote. Bianca's obedience and conformity infuriate Katherine: she claims to see that her sister is the favorite who must be married, and that she, Katherine, must be damned and kept without a husband. She asks to be left alone, saying she'll sit and cry until she can find an opportunity for revenge. This dark desire for revenge shows the intensity of Katherine's frustration with her family and the misogynistic culture in which she lives.

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Then tell me, if I get your daughter's love,
What dowry shall I have with her to wife?

Related Characters: Petruchio (speaker), Baptista Minola, Katherine
Page Number: 2.1.126-127
Explanation and Analysis:

Katherine, after calling for revenge, has run off stage, and Gremio and Cambio as well as Petruchio and Hortensio (now disguised as Litio, a music tutor, in his own quest to woo Bianca) have entered. Tranio, too, has entered in the guise of Lucentio. The tutors are introduced, and Petruchio has expressed his interest in Katherine.

Here Petruchio cuts directly to the chase: he wants to marry Katherine and wants to know what the dowry is. Satisfied with the amount, he immediately decides he will marry her. When Baptista doubts Petruchio's ability to woo his daughter, the suitor explains that he is as insistent on obedience as Katherine is stubborn. He is "rough" and will "woo not like a babe." In this scene, Petruchio's strength of will is established, and the stage is set for a battle of wills between him and Katherine – the "taming" – to begin.

Thus in plain terms: your father hath consented
That you shall be my wife, your dowry ‘greed on,
And will you, nill you, I will marry you.

Related Characters: Petruchio (speaker), Baptista Minola, Katherine
Page Number: 2.1.284-286
Explanation and Analysis:

Katherine and Petruchio have been going back and forth after first meeting. According to plan, he has denied everything she said or did and asserted the opposite, beginning with her very name. The entire scene, and the courtship in general, is extremely performative. He first calls her Kate, and when she tries to correct him, saying she is called Katherine, he calls her a liar and tells her that she is only known by Kate. Thus begins the series of witty jabs, and slaps, and innuendos.

Here Petruchio breaks off the dialogue to deliver his intentions "in plain terms." Baptista has agreed on the marriage, the dowry has been settled, and regardless of Katherine's desires, Petruchio is going to marry her. This marks a break from his usual tactic of taming, where he forces his "reality" over hers. Here Petruchio's lesson is outright: what you desire is meaningless. Her willingness or unwillingness is irrelevant, since she is the daughter and wife, and he is the husband and the man.

Act 4, Scene 5 Quotes

Now, by my mother's son, and that's myself,
It shall be moon, or star, or what I list,
Or e'er I journey to your father's house.

Related Characters: Petruchio (speaker), Baptista Minola, Katherine
Page Number: 4.5.7-9
Explanation and Analysis:

Petruchio, Katherine, and their train are traveling to Baptista's house for Bianca's wedding. Continuing with the "lesson" he gave with "It shall be what o'clock I say it is," Petruchio has said that the moon is shining, even though it is daytime. When Katherine protests that it is the sun, Petruchio offers this quote in response.

Note that he begins by swearing by his "mother's son," that is, by himself, and says that "It shall be the moon, or star, or what I list." Whatever Petruchio says shall be. He swears by himself since to Katherine, he is the absolute figure of authority. No Duke, no King, no God will supersede his authority. His will dictates her very experience of the world.

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Baptista Minola Character Timeline in The Taming of the Shrew

The timeline below shows where the character Baptista Minola appears in The Taming of the Shrew. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Baptista enters with his two daughters, Katherine and Bianca. Two men, Gremio and Hortensio, enter as... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Lucentio, meanwhile, has become obsessed with Bianca's beauty. Baptista tells Bianca to leave and go inside, and she is polite and deferential, in contrast... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Baptista says that he will keep only schoolmasters in his house, to instruct Bianca in music... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...rude, boisterous sister, but Lucentio speaks only of Bianca's beauty. Tranio fills Lucentio in on Baptista's condition for Bianca's marriage. Lucentio says he has an idea, and Tranio says that he... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Marriage Theme Icon
...about is finding a wealthy wife, and is eager to meet Katherine. He adds that Baptista knew his father and wants to go see Katherine immediately. Grumio is confident that Petruchio... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Hortensio tells Petruchio that he must accompany him to Baptista's house, since he is in love with Baptista's younger daughter Bianca, whom Baptista refuses to... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Hortensio greets Gremio, who tells him that he is on the way to Baptista's house, to bring Cambio to teach Bianca. Hortensio responds that he has found someone to... (full context)
Marriage Theme Icon
...disguised as Lucentio, with his servant Biondello. Tranio asks the group how to get to Baptista's house. Hortensio asks if he is a suitor of one of Baptista's daughters. Gremio and... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
In Baptista's house, Katherine is teasing Bianca. She has Bianca's hands tied and asks her which of... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Baptista enters and is upset to see Katherine abusing Bianca. He unties Bianca's hands and sends... (full context)
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...tutor named Litio). Tranio (disguised as Lucentio) enters with Biondello. Petruchio introduces himself and tells Baptista he is interested in Katherine. He introduces "Litio" (really Hortensio) as a teacher of math... (full context)
Education Theme Icon
...interrupts to introduce "Cambio" (really Lucentio) as a teacher of Greek, Latin, and other languages. Baptista thanks him for the teacher, and then asks who Tranio is. Tranio introduces himself as... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Petruchio discusses the dowry for Katherine and assures Baptista that he is strong enough to make Katherine yield to him. He claims, "I am... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...over his head. Petruchio is amused and says he loves her even more than before. Baptista tells "Litio" (Hortensio) to try teaching Bianca instead. He goes inside to send Katherine out... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...actually pleasant and sweet. Katherine is frustrated by his absurd praise. Petruchio tells her that Baptista has agreed to make him Katherine's husband. He tells her, "I am he am born... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Baptista enters with Gremio and Tranio (disguised as Lucentio). Katherine complains to her father that he... (full context)
Marriage Theme Icon
Baptista now sets his mind to figuring out who Bianca's husband will be. Gremio claims that... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Baptista says that he will give Bianca to Lucentio on the Sunday after Katherine and Petruchio's... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Education Theme Icon
Within Baptista's household, Lucentio (disguised as Cambio) and Hortensio (disguised as Litio) instruct Bianca. The two squabble... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Marriage Theme Icon
It is Katherine and Petruchio's wedding day, and Baptista, Gremio, Katherine, Bianca, Tranio (disguised as Lucentio), and Lucentio (disguised as Cambio) are all present... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...Petruchio acts as if nothing is strange about his attire, and asks where Katherine is. Baptista is offended by Petruchio's lateness and ridiculous clothing. He and Tranio tell Petruchio to change... (full context)
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...to be Lucentio's father, Vincentio. This man will promise great riches to Lucentio, so that Baptista will approve of his daughter marrying him. Tranio assures Lucentio that he will beat out... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Petruchio enters, along with Katherine. Bianca, Baptista, Hortensio, and Grumio. Petruchio announces that he will leave now, skipping the traditional wedding feast... (full context)
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...Petruchio's behavior. Bianca says that Katherine is mad and has found a fittingly mad mate. Baptista tells everyone that they can still enjoy the feast, and that Lucentio (actually Tranio) and... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...Tranio (still disguised as Lucentio) brings the merchant, who is dressed up as Vincentio, to Baptista's house. Biondello arrives, as well, and Tranio reminds him to act as if the merchant... (full context)
Marriage Theme Icon
Baptista is convinced that the merchant is Vincentio. Baptista, the merchant, and Tranio decide to go... (full context)
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Lucentio returns and Biondello informs him of their plans. Baptista has asked for Cambio to bring Bianca to a banquet, agreeing to marry her to... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...Biondello and the merchant to cry out that a madman is attacking them. Biondello leaves. Baptista and Tranio (still impersonating Lucentio) enter. Vincentio is furious at his servant Tranio when Tranio... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...fearing punishment, Biondello, Tranio, and the merchant run away. Lucentio reveals his true identity to Baptista and Vincentio, and explains how he and Tranio changed places. He says that he was... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Marriage Theme Icon
It is finally time for Lucentio and Bianca's wedding banquet. Baptista, Vincentio, Gremio, the merchant who had pretended to be Vincentio, Lucentio, Bianca, Petruchio, and Katherine... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
...The women leave, and Tranio also teases Petruchio, saying he is ruled by his wife. Baptista tells Petruchio that he has "the veriest shrew of all," (v.2.66). (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
The men are amazed at Katherine's obedience. Baptista says that Petruchio has won the bet, and jokes that he'll give him even more... (full context)