Tranio is a servant to Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare. Tranio, who is much more intelligent than his employer, is largely responsible for Lucentio's successful courting of Bianca. The quick-witted Tranio takes great pleasure in devising schemes and manipulating suitors so that Lucentio may marry Bianca.
Part of a standard scenario from Roman Comedy, Tranio is a servant who seems superior to his master. Cynical from the first about Lucentio's devotion to learning, Tranio the realist is proved right upon Bianca's entry.
The hopeless Lucentio is almost completely dependent on Tranio, something which is made clear when he says:
"Counsel me, Tranio, for I know thou canst;
Assist me, Tranio, for I know thou wilt."
It is also made clear throughout the play that Lucentio could never have achieved his aim of marriage to Bianca without Tranio's assistance. Quick-witted Tranio handles the bidding for Bianca, manipulates Hortensio into marrying the Widow, and also convinces the Pedant to portray Vincentio.
Although Tranio is the son of "a sailmaker in Bergamo" he takes well to being disguised as his master. He can refer to Ovid and Aristotle from first hand knowledge and Tranio speaks in verse, something that would have clearly indicated to an Elizabethan audience that he was possessed of superior intelligence. In fact, Tranio seems very natural giving orders to the other, prose-speaking, servants.