(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed


Petruchio (peh-TREW-kee-oh), a widower, famous as the tamer of his shrewish first wife, Kate. Angered and confused by the various husband-taming tricks of Maria and beaten at every point, he at last surrenders to her and is rewarded with a generous love.


Maria, Petruchio’s second wife. A lesser Lysistrata, she is determined to win a signal victory for her sex over the man most famous for conquering a member of it. She is clever and witty, turning Petruchio’s angry bull-like sallies with affected mildness and concern or with passionate displays of her own temper. After she overwhelms him completely, she graciously promises to make him a perfect wife.


Livia (LIHV-ee-uh), Maria’s sister, in love with Rowland. She succeeds in fooling her father and her ridiculous elderly suitor, and after several complications she succeeds in marrying her sweetheart.


Bianca (bee-AHN-kah), their cousin. Also showing kinship with Lysistrata, she is active and resourceful on behalf of both sisters in the battle of the sexes.


Petronius (peh-TROH-nee-ews), the father of the sisters. A well-meaning but somewhat tyrannical father, he rages furiously but impotently at his daughters’ independence. He accepts their eventual triumphs with good grace.


Rowland, Livia’s sweetheart. Misunderstanding Livia’s behavior toward him and Moroso, he renounces her, but when the misunderstanding is clarified, he marries her joyfully.


Moroso (moh-ROH-soh), a foolish, wealthy old man in love with Livia. He is tricked into witnessing and approving her marriage contract with Rowland without realizing what he is signing.


Sophocles (SOF-oh-kleez), a friend of Petruchio. He is used by Maria, who flirts with him, to arouse Petruchio’s jealousy.


Tranio (TRAH-nee-oh), another of Petruchio’s friends.


Jacques (zhahk), Petruchio’s servant. He is bewildered by his master’s reversal of marital fortune.