Hortensio is a young man of Padua, a suitor to Bianca’s hand.
Despairing of ever even having a chance of wooing her, due to her father’s insistence that the elder sister marry first, he is delighted when his old friend Petruchio comes for a visit, looking for a wife. He takes pains to warn Petruchio of Katherina’s character, while also mentioning the wealth of her dowry. To gain access to the younger sister, he disguises herself as a music teacher called Licio with Petruchio’s help, but on his first lesson Katherina beats him up, breaking his lute over his head. He presents a wooing note to Bianca in code, which has little effect. He is entirely under her thumb, but also promises that should she genuinely be in love with someone else, he will let her go. Seeing her kissing a mere schoolmaster, he vows to give her up as being unworthy of him. After all, a kind widow has been wooing him of late, and he takes off to marry her instead, deciding that beauty is not the most important feature a woman can have. He visits Petruchio and helps him in his games against Katherina, though also advising her, and taking it all down in case he needs to use these methods on the widow. A wagering man, he is willing to bet on his new wife’s obedience against Katherina’s and Bianca’s, to his discomfit when he loses.