The Three M’s; Maturity, Money, and Marriage.
Play: “The Taming of the Shrew”
Movie: “Life Partners”
In the classic Shakespearant play, “The Taming of the Shrew” one of the main characters, Katherine represents the shrew who is a stubborn woman who is forced to mature before she is ready so she can have a proper marriage. She is forced into a relationship that she doesn’t want to be in because her father is convinced that a man named Petruchio is a good match for her. This is due to his proclaimed wealth and his ability to tame Katherine. Petruchio is really just marrying Katherine for her dowry. Furthermore, there are many themes in this play that transcend into modern day movies. Characters like Petruchio and Katherine are timeless, and in the movie “Life Partners” one of the main characters (Sasha) is thrown into a very similar situation as Katherine.
She struggles of being viewed as an immature person or as a “shrew” because she doesn't have a secure job nor does she date mature women, plus she is almost thirty. For both Katherine and Sasha, their immaturity affects their relationships. In the movie, Sasha and her best friend Paige are extremely close, but once Paige gets a serious boyfriend the dynamics of their friendship change. Paige starts spending more time with her boyfriend, but also starts to see that Sasha is actually really immature because she doesn’t have a secure job nor a secure relationship. She starts to try to change Sasha and tries to tell her to date more mature women. Paige and Petruchio are similar because they are dishonest to their friends/partners, but Paige never uses any manipulation tactics on Sasha. In the play, Petruchio manipulates Katherine by not giving her what she wants or needs unless she politely agrees with him.
In “The Taming of the Shrew” people are trying to change others or themselves for their own benefit. The characters in “The Taming of the Shrew” care more about wealth and their societal duty to marry while the characters in “Life Partners” are looking out for the well being of each other. This shows that in present day society happiness is more important in relationships rather than just fulfilling the need for wealth, the duty to marry, or personal benefit.
Act 2. Sc. 1 Line 342
“We will have rings, and things, and fine array…
In “The Taming of the Shrew” it is imperative that a suitor has money. The girls family must have money and the man must also be well off. The more money or valuables the more suitable that person is for marriage. Petruchio in this scene is bribing and manipulating by describing all of the good things that he will come with after marriage. Such as, “rings and fine array”. He does this because he has ulterior motives for marrying Katherine, contrary to Paige who is looking out for Sasha’s well being. Baptista, who is Katherine's father is convinced that Petruchio and Katherine will be a good match because he believes they have similar bold personalities, and also because Petruchio claims to have a lot money. “The Taming of the Shrew” shows how it was important for suitors to be mature and wealthy. In the play Katherine really does not want to get married. Though, her father thinks she is ready so she must get married. This shows how even though Katherine was not happy with the marriage she had to go through with the marriage because that was the cultural expectation.
Even though “The Taming of the Shrew” was written four hundred and twenty-two years ago many of the key ideas are still relevant today. For example, wealth is cherished at all points in time in history and in present day. Additionally, not only has wealth been important through time, but also unwanted suitors transcend through all periods of time.
This scene consist of Sasha, Paige, and a suitor who are all attending a party which Paige is hosting. Paige has arranged for Sasha and the suitor to have a blind date, but Sasha doesn’t know about the set up. Sasha, who is on the right of the picture, has just been dumped by a girl she really adored. This has caused her to be bitter towards all girls and relationships, which is similar to Katherines bitterness after she had to marry Petruchio.
Moreover, Sasha does not show any sign of interest towards her suitor, and is very detached the entire time. This is similar to how Katherine acted towards Petruchio when they first met. Their first interaction just consisted of constant quarreling and fighting because Katherine really did not like Petruchio. However, in the movie, the suitor just angrily leaves after overhearing Sasha complaining about her to Paige. This shows how Petruchio and the present day suitor are not alike at all.
Paige however is certainly similar to Petruchio because Paige and Sasha fight and insult each other to the point where Sasha leaves and they don’t talk for a long period of time. Overall, Paige sets up and fights with Sasha because she wants Sasha to be with someone who is mature, even though Sasha doesn’t see it this way. Sasha interprets Paige’s help as someone trying to control her, which is very similar to how Katherine felt with Petruchio as well.
Act 2. Sc. 1 Page: 97
Lines 320 through 326
“Is this your speeding? Nay, then, good night our part.”
“Be patient, gentlemen. I choose her for myself.
If she and I be pleased, what’s that to you?
'Tis bargained ’twixt us twain, being alone,
That she shall still be curst in company.
I tell you, ’tis incredible to believe
How much she loves me. O, the kindest Kate!”
In this quote Petruchio is lying to Tranio and Baptista about how in love Katherine and him are. Petruchio is trying to operate the situation to his benefit to show Baptista how Katherine actually has a chance of being less of a shrew. However, he really just wants to marry Katherine for her dowry. Not only did lying about all of his wealth help him marry Katherine, but so did lying about Katherine actually being a nice person in private. Thus proving how society sees people as suitable to marry once they are wealthy and once they are mature rather than people marrying when they truly feel happiest. Petruchio married Katherine for money not because he actually was happy nor did he actually love her.
Sasha starts to date a girl who is very artistic and very self centered. She is according to Paige, not mature enough for Sasha to be dating. Paige can’t help but lie to manipulate things to make them go how she think they should.
At one point in the movie Sasha is dating a girl named Vanessa who is shown as a very immature artist who has extremely over-the-top ideas. In this scene, Paige and her boyfriend (Tim) go out with Sasha and Vanessa. Later in private, Paige and Tim discuss how much they hate Vanessa, and how Sasha really needs to date someone more mature. This is different from “The Taming of the Shrew” because Katherine never dates anyone else that makes anyone notice how immature she is. It is just Katherines personality that makes people believe she is rude and immature. However, this scene relates to the quote from the play because Petruchio is lying about how happy they are, similar to how Paige tries to lie to Sasha and tell her how much she really likes Vanessa. She does this so Paige doesn’t know that she already has a hidden agenda of setting Sasha up with someone more mature/wealthy. Overall, Paige is very much like Petruchio because she is trying to control and change someone/something that she really has no right to change. Petruchio and Paige like to control people and situations very much. However, Paiges actions show how she cares about her friends happiness and wants her to be in a better relationship, while Petruchio actions and lies show how he does not care about Katherine’s feelings.
“The Taming of the Shrew” has many timeless elements that really show how much and how little humanity has changed as an entirety. Wealth is something that will continue to be a major part of everyones life. No matter if one has it, or if one does not have it, if one cherishes it, or if one looks down upon it. Money will always be a central part of humanity and therefore a central part of dating. As shown by Petruchio and Paige, society carries an attitude that the more money, the more put together a person is. Paige views Sasha and the girls Sasha dates as immature because they do not have full time jobs. People use the idea of money to manipulate or to make other people feel bad. Katherine and Sasha were both women whose immaturity kept them from having an acceptable relationship. Petruchio used money and his controlling personality as a way to manipulate others so that he could get his way, while Paige truly just wanted Sasha to have a happy mature relationship. This shows how now people today look more for happiness rather than just duty or personal benefit in relationships.
Life Partners. Dir. Susanna Fogel. Perf. Leighton Meester and Gillian Jacobs. Magnolia Pictures, 2014. Netflix.
Shakespeare, William. "Act 2. Sc. 1 Page: 99 Line 342." The Taming of the Shrew. New York: Washington Square, 1992. 1-251. Print.
Shakespeare, William. "Act 2. Sc. 1 Page: 97 Lines 320 through 326." The Taming of the Shrew. New York: Washington Square, 1992. 1-251. Print