List of Characters
Petruchio—the clever but rough man who tames the “shrew” to be his wife.
Katharina—the shrew; a sharp-tongued woman who will not take a husband; She finally capitulates to the overpowering Petruchio and becomes the model wife.
Bianca—Katharina’s beautiful younger sister who cannot marry until a man weds Katharina.
Lucentio—a young man who wants to marry Bianca; disguises himself as Cambio, a teacher, to woo Bianca covertly.
Baptista—the wealthy father of Katharina and Bianca.
Gremio—an old man and suitor to Bianca.
Hortensio—disguises himself as Litio, a musician, in order to woo Bianca covertly; breaks off his suit when she favors Cambio, and marries a wealthy widow instead.
Vincentio—Lucentio’s father; a wealthy merchant who resides in Pisa.
Tranio—Lucentio’s servant who disguises himself as his master and comes to Baptista to court Bianca on Lucentio’s behalf.
Biondello—servant to Lucentio who slanders his father, Vincentio.
Grumio—patient servant to Petruchio.
Pedant—is disguised as Lucentio’s father, Vincentio.
Widow—marries Hortensio and surprises everyone at the play’s end by being more shrewish than Katharina.
Christopher Sly—a common tinker, fooled into believing that he is a nobleman.
Lord—a nobleman who plays an elaborate joke on the unsuspecting Christopher Sly.
Page—Bartholomew, probably a teenage boy; His master dresses him up as a woman to play the wife of Christopher Sly.
Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Katharina (kat-uh-REE-nuh), the “shrew,” the spirited elder daughter of Baptista, a well-to-do Paduan gentleman. She storms at her father, her mild young sister, and her tutors until she meets Petruchio, who ignores her protests of rage and marries her while she stands by in stunned amazement. She continues to assert her will, but she finds her husband’s even stronger than her own and learns that submission is the surest means to a quiet life. Her transformation is a painful revelation to Lucentio and Hortensio, who must pay Petruchio their wagers and, in addition, live with wives who are less dutiful than they supposed.
Petruchio (peh-TREW-kee-oh), her masterful husband, who comes from Verona to Padua frankly in search of a wealthy wife. He is easily persuaded by his friend Hortensio to court Katharina and pave the way for her younger sister’s marriage. Katharina’s manners do not daunt him; in truth, his are little better than hers, as his long-suffering servants could testify. He meets insult with insult and storm with storm, humiliating his bride by appearing at the altar in his oldest garments and keeping her starving and sleepless, all the while pretending the greatest solicitude for her welfare. Using the methods of training hawks, he tames a wife and ensures a happy married life for himself.
Bianca (bee-AHN-kuh), Katharina’s pretty, gentle younger sister, for whose hand Lucentio, Hortensio, and Gremio are rivals. Although she is completely charming to her suitors, she is, in her own way, clever and strong-willed, and she chides her bridegroom for being so foolish as to lay wagers on her dutifulness.
Baptista (bap-TEES-tah), her father, a wealthy Paduan. Determined to treat his ill-tempered daughter fairly, he refuses to let Bianca marry before her. Petruchio’s...
(The entire section is 836 words.)