The Taming of the Shrew

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Bianca Character Analysis

Bianca is Katherine's younger, more desirable sister. While she is better liked by most characters than Katherine, she has a slightly smaller role in the play. When she does speak, she shows herself to be clever, as when she flirts and trades witticisms with Lucentio while he is "teaching" her. At the end of the play, she refuses to come when called by Lucentio, showing by contrast how obedient Katherine has become.

Bianca Quotes in The Taming of the Shrew

The The Taming of the Shrew 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:
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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Act 4, Scene 2 Quotes

Tranio: Faith, he is gone unto the taming school.

Bianca: The taming school? What, is there such a place?

Tranio: Ay, mistress, and Petruchio is the master,
That teacheth tricks eleven and twenty long
To tame a shrew and charm her chattering tongue.

Related Characters: Bianca (speaker), Tranio (speaker), Katherine, Petruchio
Page Number: 4.2.56-60
Explanation and Analysis:

This scene takes place back in Padua, where Lucentio (as Cambio) has been courting Bianca. Hortensio has seen the two kissing, and been convinced by Tranio (disguised as Lucentio) to cease his attempts to woo Bianca. Tranio then goes up to Bianca and Lucentio to tell them the news that Hortensio has given up.

Here they discuss Hortensio's intention to learn from Petruchio at "the taming school." Bianca questions what such a place could be, and Tranio responds that it indeed exists, and "Petruchio is the master" who teaches how to "tame a shrew and charm her chattering tongue." In this quote, taming is treated as a kind of education, and thus Petruchio is framed as a master, a husband, and also an educator who teaches women how to be good wives, and men how to be good trainers of women. And the men of the play all seem to believe that such training is necessary, that all women must be "trained" to be good obedient wives to their husbands.

Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

Let's each one send unto his wife,
And he whose wife is most obedient
To come at first when he doth send for her
Shall win the wager which we will propose.

Related Characters: Petruchio (speaker), Katherine, Bianca, Petruchio, Hortensio, Widow
Page Number: 5.2.68-71
Explanation and Analysis:

This is in the final scene of the play; the marriages are done, the plot has been mostly resolved. All that remains is this bet, and the test of "whose wife is most obedient." Petruchio suggests that each man send for his wife, and that the man whose wife comes first when sent for wins the bet. This demeaning experiment is meant to demonstrate Petruchio's mastery, and remind the other males in the play that Petruchio is the head of the taming school. More broadly, the bet, with its emphasis on wifely obedience, implies that all women are "shrews" who must be trained, that any woman who does not show total obedience to her husband is a shrew.

The wager also sets up Katherine's controversial final speech

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Bianca Character Timeline in The Taming of the Shrew

The timeline below shows where the character Bianca 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 well, seeking to woo Bianca. Baptista reminds them... (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,... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Baptista says that he will keep only schoolmasters in his house, to instruct Bianca in music and poetry. He asks Gremio and Hortensio if they know of any teachers,... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Gremio insults Katherine, then says that he would gladly find a teacher for Bianca. Hortensio agrees, but also tells Gremio that they should cooperate in finding Katherine a husband,... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Lucentio says that he has suddenly fallen in love with Bianca and is desperate to win her heart. Tranio asks if Lucentio also heard about the... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...must accompany him to Baptista's house, since he is in love with Baptista's younger daughter Bianca, whom Baptista refuses to marry off "Till Katherine the curst have got a husband," (i.2.129).... (full context)
Education Theme Icon
...with Lucentio, who is disguised as a schoolmaster named Cambio. Gremio tells Lucentio to teach Bianca only "books of love," (i.2.147). Lucentio promises to plead for Bianca to marry Gremio while... (full context)
Marriage Theme Icon
...he is a suitor of one of Baptista's daughters. Gremio and Hortensio each protest that Bianca is already theirs. Tranio says that his father knows Baptista, and he is not worried... (full context)
Marriage Theme Icon
Petruchio informs Tranio that Bianca cannot marry until her older sister, whom he wants as his wife, is married. Tranio... (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 her suitors she likes the... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Baptista enters and is upset to see Katherine abusing Bianca. He unties Bianca's hands and sends her off to sew. He chastises Katherine, saying Bianca... (full context)
Education Theme Icon
...Tranio is. Tranio introduces himself as Lucentio, and says that he is a suitor for Bianca. He presents Baptista with some Greek and Latin books as a gift. Baptista is pleased... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...says he loves her even more than before. Baptista tells "Litio" (Hortensio) to try teaching Bianca instead. He goes inside to send Katherine out to meet Petruchio. (full context)
Marriage Theme Icon
Baptista now sets his mind to figuring out who Bianca's husband will be. Gremio claims that he loved Bianca first, but Tranio says he loves... (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 wedding, provided that Lucentio's father guarantees... (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 for Bianca's attention, Hortensio wanting to teach her music while Lucentio wants... (full context)
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
While pretending to teach Bianca Latin, Lucentio reveals his true identity to Bianca and tells her that he is in... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Bianca declares that she is ready for her music lesson now, and Hortensio sends Lucentio away.... (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 for the ceremony.... (full context)
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Left alone, Tranio and Lucentio discuss their plan to get Bianca for Lucentio. Tranio tells him that he will find a man who will pretend to... (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... (full context)
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
Everyone is astonished at Petruchio's behavior. Bianca says that Katherine is mad and has found a fittingly mad mate. Baptista tells everyone... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...as Litio) leads the person he thinks is Lucentio (in reality Tranio) to spy on Bianca and the real Lucentio (disguised as Cambio). They see Bianca and "Cambio" flirt and kiss,... (full context)
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Tranio goes forward to Bianca and Lucentio and tells them the news about Hortensio. He also tells them that Petruchio... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...Petruchio allows her to begin to eat. Petruchio says that he and Katherine will celebrate Bianca's upcoming marriage at her father's house, and he brings in a tailor and a haberdasher... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...as Vincentio. The merchant tells Baptista that he approves of the marriage between Lucentio and Bianca. (full context)
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...returns and Biondello informs him of their plans. Baptista has asked for Cambio to bring Bianca to a banquet, agreeing to marry her to the person he thinks is Lucentio (actually... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Outside of Lucentio's home in Padua, Lucentio runs off with Bianca and Biondello to the church where he will marry Bianca. Meanwhile, Gremio waits outside Lucentio's... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Biondello returns from the church, where Lucentio and Bianca have been married. Vincentio recognizes Biondello, but Biondello pretends not to know Vincentio. Vincentio angrily... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Biondello, Lucentio, and Bianca enter. Thinking that their deception has been uncovered and fearing punishment, Biondello, Tranio, and the... (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,... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...whose wife comes first will win a wager of money. Lucentio sends Biondello to fetch Bianca, but he returns with the news that she says she is busy and won't come.... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...as a second dowry, since Katherine is now a completely different daughter. Katherine returns with Bianca and the widow. Lucentio chides Bianca for not coming, telling her that her disobedience cost... (full context)