The Taming of the Shrew

by

William Shakespeare

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The Taming of the Shrew Characters

Read our modern English translation.

Christopher Sly

Christopher Sly is a drunken beggar, who begins the play by being thrown out of a tavern. A noble lord passing by decides to play a joke on him and dresses him up in noble… read analysis of Christopher Sly

A Lord

An unnamed nobleman, the lord finds Christopher Sly drunkenly passed out and decides to play a trick on him, convincing him that he is actually a wealthy nobleman. He arranges for his servants to play… read analysis of A Lord

Baptista Minola

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… read analysis of Baptista Minola

Katherine

Katherine is the "shrew" of the play's title. Because she is stubborn, is sometimes ill-mannered, and does not allow herself to be ordered around by men, she is constantly insulted, made fun of, and otherwise… read analysis of Katherine

Bianca

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… read analysis of Bianca
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Petruchio

Petruchio is a gentleman who comes to Padua from Verona seeking a wife. He is loud, stubborn, and boisterous—in some ways a male version of Katherine. He accepts the challenge of taming Katherine and… read analysis of Petruchio

Gremio

Gremio is a rather old, wealthy suitor of Bianca, competing for her hand in marriage with Lucentio and Hortensio, as well as others. When Baptista decides to marry Bianca to Lucentio, he adds… read analysis of Gremio

Hortensio

Hortensio is another suitor of Bianca. He disguises himself as the music teacher Litio in order to get closer to her. When he sees Bianca kissing her other teacher Cambio (Lucentio in disguise)… read analysis of Hortensio

Lucentio

Lucentio is a young man who arrives in Padua ready to pursue his studies, along with his servant Tranio. Almost immediately, though, he falls in love with Bianca, and devotes all his energy… read analysis of Lucentio

Vincentio

Vincentio is Lucentio's wealthy father. Lucentio needs his father's guarantee of his dower before he marries Bianca, but he gets a merchant to pretend to be Vincentio instead. When the real Vincentio arrives in… read analysis of Vincentio

Tranio

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… read analysis of Tranio

Merchant

Biondello finds this merchant to dress up as Lucentio's father Vincentio. Tranio tells the merchant, who is from Mantua, that the duke of Padua has ordered for the death of any Mantuans found in… read analysis of Merchant

Widow

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… read analysis of Widow

Tailor

Petruchio hires the tailor to make a custom dress for Katherine to wear to Bianca's wedding banquet. However, he rejects the dress in order to tease Katherine, as part of his ongoing effort to tame… read analysis of Tailor
Minor Characters
Hostess
The hostess throws the drunken Christopher Sly out of her tavern in the play's opening scene.
The Lord's Hunstmen
These attendants of the wealthy lord pretend to be Christopher Sly's servants, helping to convince him of his new identity.
Bartholomew the Page
The lord has this young, male servant dress up as Sly's wife. This disguise is very similar to the practice in Shakespeare's day of having young men play female roles in the theater.
Players
This group of traveling actors is hired by the lord to put on a play for Christopher Sly. The Taming of the Shrew is then their play, performed within the framing story established by the Induction.
Biondello
Biondello is one of Lucentio's servants. He helps Tranio and Lucentio carry out their plan to woo Bianca for Lucentio and finds a merchant to dress up as Vincentio.
Grumio
Grumio is one of Petruchio's servants, and goes with him to Padua. He is the object of much of Petruchio's abuse.
Curtis, Nathaniel, Phillip, Joseph, Nicholas, and Peter
These servants at Petruchio's house prepare hastily for Petruchio and Katherine's arrival, but Petruchio treats them rudely and harshly, as part of his plan to tame Katherine.
Haberdasher
Much like the tailor, the haberdasher is ordered by Petruchio to make Katherine a hat for Bianca's wedding banquet. Petruchio rejects the hat just like he rejects the tailor's dress, even though it is a perfectly fine hat.