Study Guide

Gremio in The Taming of the Shrew

By William Shakespeare


Gremio is an old man who actually thinks he has a chance with Bianca. He's referred to as a "Pantaloon," which is a figure from the Italian commedia dell'arte tradition of slapstick, improv theater. "Pantaloons" are stock figures – old men who are punished and made into laughing stocks for inappropriately going after sweet young things like Bianca. (They typically wear big, baggy pants like MC Hammer, hence the name "pantaloon.") In The Taming of the Shrew, Gremio is punished in a couple of ways. First, he loses the bidding war for Bianca's hand. Second, he's duped into paying Lucentio (who is disguised as "Cambio" the teacher) to "tutor" Bianca. Basically, he pays another guy to woo the girl he's after.