The culture of marital engagement in “Taming of the Shrew”, and the era Shakespeare wrote this play, was that if a man was interested in a woman, he would just go straight to her father and the “business transaction would be made. Since Baptista had two daughters, Katherine and Bianca, he had many suitors at his front door. He would situate and pick them by the amount of deeds they had and his daughter was handed over. However in the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, set in modern times, the culture is much different. Toula Portokalos is a 30 year old greek girl who works at her family’s restaurant and still lives at home with her parents. She didn’t have any Greek Suitors at her door like her family imagined her to have nor did she meet any guys who were interested in her. Until Ian came around. Ian and Toula are deeply in love, so, it would assume that this was her soulmate. False. Ian isn’t Greek, which is a problem of great magnitude for Toula’s family, especially her father. These texts reflect not only has there been a change in culture, but also, a clash between cultures within eras when it comes to kindling a new romance.
Quote 1: “You’re welcome, sir, and he for your good sake.But for my daughter Katherine, this I know, She is not for your turn, the more my grief.” - Baptista Act 2 scene 1In this quote, Baptista is confused by the fact there is final a suitor, a man named Petruchio, for his ill-fitted daughter Katherine. He was certain that his daughter wouldn’t get a suitor by how bitter and mean she was. When Petruchio, asked for Katherine’s hand, this was Baptista’s warning to not marry his daughter.
In the first scene of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Gus, Toula’s father, shakes his head in shame because Toula won’t get married to anyone, let alone a Greek. As she takes a deep yawn, he looks to his coke-bottle glasses wearing daughter and tells her “You better get married soon. You starting to look old.” Toula knows that her only purpose in life, as a Greek girl, is to do 3 things in life: marry a greek boy, make greek babies, and feed everyone until the day they die.
Quote 2: “Truly, gentlemen, this is a chancy piece of business. I’ve made a risky investment.” - Baptista Act 2, Scene 1
Once the engagement of Petruchio and Katherine was confirmed, the men of the city, including Baptista, reflected on how the transaction happened. In addition to that, the wedding was in 3 days making this a very fast transaction that usually takes much more time. Baptista understands the risks of this but knows that he is making the right decision on giving away Katherine.
Gus doesn’t feel as confident in Toula as Baptista did in Katherine. When Toula got in a relationship with Ian, she knew that since Ian wasn’t Greek, her family would not approve. She hid her relationship with Ian from her family as long as she could until a 3rd cousin of hers saw her and Ian making out in a Denny’s parking lot and decided to tell her mom who decided to tell Toula’s first cousin’s mom who told Toula’s mom. When Gus heard of this he was infuriated especially because Ian came to the house to ask Gus for Toula’s hand in marriage. During this dialogue, Ian tells Gus that Toula is 30 she should be able to make decisions on her own. Gus tells him “I am the head of this house...you may not date me daughter!” He then later tells Toula and her mom that it was to big of a risk to let Toula go to school and he went against his gut causing for his daughter to be involved in a relationship with a man who isn’t Greek.
In the end, Toula and Ian decided to push through this obstacle and stay together. They decided to get married and at the wedding, Gus gives Ian and Toula the deed to a house he bought for them. As kind as this gesture was, he didn’t let them get away because he bought the house next door to them to make sure he was involved in everything they did. In “The Taming of the Shrew”, the risk Baptista took to marry Katherine to Petruchio didn’t end up as well as Katherine imagined due to the fact that Petruchio would starve her and bother her. But as strong as Katherine was she pushed through and stayed by her man. Even though these two stories were far in time and era, there are many similarities when it comes parental inferences in their child’s romantic relationships.
Zwick, J., Wilson, R., Hanks, T., Goetzman, G., Vardalos, N., Corbett, J., Kazan, L., ... HBO Video (Firm). (2003). My big fat Greek wedding. New York, NY: HBO Home Video.
Shakespeare, William. The Taming of the Shrew. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Washington Square Press, 1992. Print.