How Male Characters are Portrayed in The Taming of the Shrew
Male characters in the “Taming of the Shrew” play a significant role
in the play as women in fact without the male characters one can say
that the male characters wouldn’t react in the manner they do.
The characters I have selected are Tranio, Hortensio, Lucentio and
Petruchio because I feel they play more significant roles in the play
then any of the other male characters due to the fact that three of
them are suitors and that one dramatically influences how the play
I will do this via textual analysis (by selecting relevant segments of
text and giving my detailed opinion on what Shakespeare’s intentions
are in relation to utilising the text and what ideas he might be
trying to convey.
Tranio is the most significant servant character in the in the play.
If it were not for his wise plotting and scheming Lucentio would be
unable to win Bianca or “Achieve” as he puts in act 1 scene 1 line
156. Tranio possesses an impressive arsenal of wit and character. He
possesses a persuasive tongue and furthermore has the ability to
transform into other personas at any time he sees fit.
Although Tranio is a servant he appears to be well educated even more
so then his own master Lucentio. This is made evident throughout Act 1
scene1. One can argue this is due to the fact that he is easily able
to replicate Lucentio actions and words. This is made evident in act
1-scene 1 when Lucentio exchanges clothes with his servant. His
disguise is easily digested and it is clear that he becomes more and
more involved the role. At times he appears to be controlling the
action of the sub-plot (Of Bianca and Lucentio). This is made evident
when he arranges Lucentios’ marriage and involves the Pedant in the
Although Tranio at times has more power and influence over Lucentio
and other character he is more then willing to fulfil his masters
every wish and command. It is ironic he isn’t punished for assuming
the role of a gentle man. This is due to the fact that he is
fulfilling his masters’ commands. This is made evident throughout
Shakespeare’s plays such as in, “ twelfth night” the role reversal is
generally temporary and only admitted by the servants master.
However everything must conclude and in act five Tranio is firmly put
back I his place after all the tomfoolery have finished. Even though
he has been in a significant role of power he’s never really posed a
threat to the hierarchy of the play although he did create some
discomfort and discontent towards the older male characters.
Shakespeare’s main purpose for Tranio is to undermine the system and
create humour. He utilises irony to a great extent, the fact Tranio
impersonates his master demonstrates the power Tranio. He may not be
of a noble class...