The Taming of the Shrew

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Widow Character Analysis

After discovering Bianca's affections for Lucentio (disguised as Cambio), Hortensio stops trying to woo Bianca and instead marries this wealthy (unnamed) widow. At the end of the play, the widow refuses to come when called by Hortensio, showing that he has less control over her than Petruchio has over Katherine.

Widow Quotes in The Taming of the Shrew

The The Taming of the Shrew quotes below are all either spoken by Widow or refer to Widow. 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 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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Widow Character Timeline in The Taming of the Shrew

The timeline below shows where the character Widow appears in The Taming of the Shrew. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 4, Scene 2
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...Tranio promises also not to marry Bianca. Hortensio says that he will marry a rich widow instead and leaves. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Marriage Theme Icon
...The servants Tranio, Grumio, and Biondello are there as well, as are Hortensio and the widow he has married. Lucentio welcomes everyone to the banquet, calls Petruchio and Katherine his brother... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
As the guests at the banquet trade jokes and jibes, the widow teases Petruchio for being married to a shrew, offending Katherine. The women leave, and Tranio... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...she says she is busy and won't come. Hortensio then sends Biondello to get the widow, but she refuses to come, as well. (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...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 him money. Bianca... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Marriage Theme Icon
...asks Kate to tell the other wives what duty they owe to their husbands. The widow protests, but Petruchio insists on it. Katherine begins a long speech, detailing the importance of... (full context)