The Taming of the Shrew

Merchant Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
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 Padua, because of a dispute between the two cities. Tranio convinces him to pretend to be Vincentio, supposedly in order to save his life (but really in order to convince Baptista that Lucentio is a suitable husband for Bianca).
Get the entire The Taming of the Shrew LitChart as a printable PDF.
The taming of the shrew.pdf.medium

Merchant Character Timeline in The Taming of the Shrew

The timeline below shows where the character Merchant appears in The Taming of the Shrew. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 4, Scene 2
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...a master at taming shrews. Biondello arrives and tells Tranio that he has found a merchant who may be able to act as Lucentio's father, Vincentio. Lucentio and Bianca exit, as... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Tranio asks the merchant where he is from and the merchant responds that he is from Mantua. Tranio makes... (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... (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 house. Biondello arrives, as well, and Tranio... (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... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...with Katherine, Vincentio, and Grumio. Vincentio knocks on the door and asks for Lucentio. The merchant (who is impersonating Vincentio) tells him Lucentio is busy. Petruchio says that Vincentio is Lucentio's... (full context)
Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
Theater, Performance, and Identity Theme Icon
...but Biondello pretends not to know Vincentio. Vincentio angrily beats Biondello, causing Biondello and the merchant to cry out that a madman is attacking them. Biondello leaves. Baptista and Tranio (still... (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 are all present. The... (full context)