The Taming of the Shrew

Back to List of Characters


The character Messenger in the play The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare is a crucial figure in the development of the plot. Although the Messenger does not have a significant role in terms of dialogue or character development, their actions and presence play a vital role in driving the story forward.

The Messenger's primary function is to deliver important messages and information to the other characters in the play. They act as a bridge between different locations and provide updates on the events happening offstage. Through their efficient and timely delivery of messages, the Messenger helps to create tension, suspense, and comedic moments throughout the play.

One of the most memorable moments involving the Messenger occurs in Act II, Scene I, where they deliver a letter from Petruchio to Baptista. This letter serves as a proposal for Petruchio to marry Baptista's eldest daughter, Katherine, who is famously known as the shrew. The Messenger's delivery of this letter sets the stage for the rest of the play, as it sparks the central conflict and the subsequent attempts to tame Katherine.

The Messenger's Comedic Interactions

In addition to their role as a conveyer of important information, the Messenger also provides comedic relief in the play. Shakespeare cleverly uses the Messenger's character to create humorous situations and misunderstandings. For example, in Act III, Scene II, the Messenger mistakenly delivers a message meant for Lucentio to Hortensio, causing confusion and leading to comedic exchanges between the characters.

Throughout the play, the Messenger's reliable and efficient nature is highlighted. They are depicted as a fast and accurate deliverer of messages, which adds to the overall comedic effect in the play. Their interactions with other characters often result in amusing misunderstandings and chaotic situations, further enhancing the comedic elements of the play.

In conclusion, while the Messenger may not have a prominent role in terms of character development or dialogue, their actions and presence are crucial to the plot of The Taming of the Shrew. From delivering important messages that propel the story forward to providing comedic relief through misunderstandings, the Messenger's role adds depth and entertainment to the play.