The Taming of the Shrew

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Tranio Character Analysis

Tranio is Lucentio's servant and the mastermind behind much of the scheming throughout the play. He encourages Lucentio to disguise himself as a teacher for Bianca and he himself pretends to be Lucentio for much of the play. Tranio uses his clever wit to get Lucentio and himself out of difficult situations, and also to poke fun at the noblemen he serves. He often feigns ignorance and interprets things overly literally, allowing him to annoy and joke with Lucentio and Vincentio.

Tranio Quotes in The Taming of the Shrew

The The Taming of the Shrew quotes below are all either spoken by Tranio or refer to Tranio. 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 1, Scene 1 Quotes

Thou shalt be master, Tranio, in my stead
Keep house, and port, and servants, as I should.

Related Characters: Lucentio (speaker), Tranio
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 1.1.208-209
Explanation and Analysis:

The players have begun the play within the play, and the central plot is underway: Baptista has two daughters, Kate and Bianca, and will not permit the younger Bianca to marry until her older, "shrewish" sister gets married first. A student Lucientio has arrived in the Italian city of Padua, the setting for the play, along with his servant Tranio. Lucentio almost immediately falls in love with Bianca, and is so captivated by her beauty that he needs Tranio to summarize Baptista's conditions. Learning that Bianca will only accept tutors instead of suitors, Lucentio decides to pose as a Latin tutor (later named Cambio, which in Italian means "change").

In the quote, Lucentio responds to prompts from Tranio, who reminds his master that someone aught to pose as Lucentio. The master says to his servant, "Thou shall be master, Tranio," and instructs him to carry out all of the masterly duties. The two then exchange clothes and start on their courtship plan, with Lucentio changed into Cambio and Tranio changed into Lucentio. Note that in this way the first scene of the play within the play echoes the outer play: masters become servants and servants become masters; social hierarchy is inverted and everything is performance. This scene is also the last scene in which Christopher Sly (or any one from the induction) speaks, and the only scene in which the induction bleeds into the play within the play. 

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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.

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Tranio Character Timeline in The Taming of the Shrew

The timeline below shows where the character Tranio appears in The Taming of the Shrew. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Education Theme Icon
Lucentio enters with his servant Tranio. He has just arrived in Padua, eager to study philosophy. Tranio says that he, too,... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...Katherine is "too rough," (i.1.55) for him. Katherine responds harshly to Gremio and Hortensio, and Tranio notes how difficult and badly behaved Katherine seems. (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...Katherine, so that they may fairly compete for Bianca's hand in marriage. They exit, leaving Tranio and Lucentio alone on-stage. (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...he has suddenly fallen in love with Bianca and is desperate to win her heart. Tranio asks if Lucentio also heard about the arrangement with Katherine, and saw Bianca's rude, boisterous... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Tranio coyly asks who will play the part of Lucentio, if Lucentio is the teacher. Lucentio... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Marriage Theme Icon
Tranio enters, disguised as Lucentio, with his servant Biondello. Tranio asks the group how to get... (full context)
Marriage Theme Icon
Petruchio informs Tranio that Bianca cannot marry until her older sister, whom he wants as his wife, is... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...with Lucentio (disguised as Cambio). Petruchio enters with Hortensio (disguised as a tutor named Litio). Tranio (disguised as Lucentio) enters with Biondello. Petruchio introduces himself and tells Baptista he is interested... (full context)
Education Theme Icon
...Greek, Latin, and other languages. Baptista thanks him for the teacher, and then asks who Tranio is. Tranio introduces himself as Lucentio, and says that he is a suitor for Bianca.... (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 has wed her to a... (full context)
Marriage Theme Icon
...figuring out who Bianca's husband will be. Gremio claims that he loved Bianca first, but Tranio says he loves her more. Baptista breaks up their dispute by saying that whoever offers... (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. Petruchio,... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...asks where Katherine is. Baptista is offended by Petruchio's lateness and ridiculous clothing. He and Tranio tell Petruchio to change his clothes before seeing Katherine. Petruchio refuses and goes to find... (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... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...and Petruchio were wed. He calls Petruchio "a devil, a devil, a very fiend," (iii.2.157). Tranio counters that Katherine is a devil, herself, but according to Gremio, she's "a lamb, a... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...announces that he will leave now, skipping the traditional wedding feast that has been arranged. Tranio and Gremio ask him to stay, but Petruchio insists that he must leave, offering no... (full context)
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...mate. Baptista tells everyone that they can still enjoy the feast, and that Lucentio (actually Tranio) and Bianca can take the places of Petruchio and Katherine. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...in Padua, Hortensio (disguised 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... (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... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Tranio asks the merchant where he is from and the merchant responds that he is from... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
The merchant agrees and thanks Tranio for helping him. As Tranio leaves to find suitable clothes for the merchant, he mentions... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
In Padua, Tranio (still disguised as Lucentio) brings the merchant, who is dressed up as Vincentio, to Baptista's... (full context)
Marriage Theme Icon
Baptista is convinced that the merchant is Vincentio. Baptista, the merchant, and Tranio decide to go to Lucentio's lodging to discuss the financial particulars of the marriage in... (full context)
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...to a banquet, agreeing to marry her to the person he thinks is Lucentio (actually Tranio). Before going to the banquet, Lucentio will elope with Bianca to a church and get... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...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 pretends not... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Marriage Theme Icon
...had pretended to be Vincentio, Lucentio, Bianca, Petruchio, and Katherine are all present. The servants Tranio, Grumio, and Biondello are there as well, as are Hortensio and the widow he has... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
...widow teases Petruchio for being married to a shrew, offending Katherine. The women leave, and Tranio also teases Petruchio, saying he is ruled by his wife. Baptista tells Petruchio that he... (full context)