Amélie’s Fabulous Shrew
Comparing “Amélie” and “Taming of the Shrew”
In “Taming of the Shrew”, deception in a relationship is used to woo a love interest when Lucentio disguises himself as a teacher to have access to the love of his life - Bianca. In Amélie (2001), the main character uses stratagems to hide her identity while moving her crush around like a chess piece.
Although Lucentio and Amélie both trick their love interests to win them over, Lucentio reveals his identity to Bianca right away while Amélie keeps her identity hidden from Nino. In the end, Lucentio and Amélie’s deceit pay off for the partners since Bianca and Nino are gifted with their heart’s desire. These pieces of media show that deception in relationships continue to provide the opportunity for one person to have power over the other in any relationship. The deception can seem wrong at first, but as long as the power is being used for working towards the betterment of the relationship, all turns out well.
“… this young scholar Гpresenting Lucentio, disguised as Cambioㄱ that hath been long studying at Rheims, as cunning in Greek, Latin, and other languages as the other in music and mathematics. His name is Cambio. Pray accept his service.”
(Act 2, Scene 1, 83-88)
Lucentio disguises himself as Cambio, a teacher, to be able to get close to Bianca, since her father, Baptista, is not allowing her to get married until her older sister, Katherine, does. Gremio, another of Bianca’s suitors, introduces him to Bianca and her family. This deception sets Lucentio up to interact with Bianca without her knowing his true identity. Lucentio has control over Bianca’s interpretation of him, giving him power. Instead of harming Bianca, Lucentio reveals his true identity to her, strengthening their blooming relationship.
Amélie is reluctant to reveal her true identity since she is not as confident as Lucentio.
In “Amélie”, Nino is positive that he has found the mysterious woman that led him to this cafe. Amélie denies her identity and retreats, leaving Nino disappointed but still intrigued. In this scene, Amélie has lost her mystery and her power, leaving her face to face to the man that she wants to impress. Unlike Lucentio, Amélie is shy and not confident that she will be able to win Nino’s affection right away. In an attempt to regain power, Amélie continues her deception to keep herself hidden away from the possibility of a rejection. Nino could have forced Amélie to reveal herself, making her uncomfortable, but he allowed her to stay in the dark. While Amélie’s denial is disappointing to Nino, it pushes him to become more passionate in his search for her, keeping their relationship playful.
Enter Katherine and Bianca Гwith her hands tied.ㄱ
“Good sister, wrong me not, nor wrong yourself, to make a bondmaid and a slave of me…. Unbind my hands…”
(Act 2, Scene 1, 1-4)
This quote shows that Katherine and Bianca are struggling to stay civil with each other since Bianca cannot be married until her sister does. This tension between siblings most likely results in her not enjoying being forced to stay at home. Her haste to get married supports the idea that she wishes to be freed and move on with her life before she is considered to be an “unmarriageable age”. Lucentio uses his disguise as an opportunity to win Bianca’s love and therefore, provide her with a way to get married.
While Amélie’s identity is still a secret to Nino, they play a game of cat-and-mouse, with her leading Nino to specific locations. The first location is to binoculars (shown in the first image below) and the second location is a photo booth (the second image below).
Amélie uses arrows to guide Nino through the city to return his prized album back to him. He is guided to binoculars so that when he looks in them, he can see Amélie returning the album to his bike… and then running away. Amélie also shows Nino the secret of the photo booth repairman that causes him to be dumbstruck, since he believed the man to be a ghost. Amélie still does not reveal herself, which is different from “Taming of the Shrew”. If Amélie revealed herself after returning the album or amazing Nino with the repairman, the moment would have been equivalent to Lucentio revealing himself and gifting Bianca with the chance for her freedom. All of these gifts were given to the love interests through deception, but that dishonesty did not stop the amazement that Nino felt and Bianca’s amusement at Lucentio revealing his true identity.
In “Amélie” and “Taming of the Shrew”, both suitors use deception to gain power. Lucentio and Amélie’s dishonesty with their partners is glossed over because in the end, their relationships have improved. This proves that society places focus on the result of the relationship, not the developing process. Lucentio went around Bianca’s back to arrange their marriage, but they make a fine couple in the end. Amélie manipulated Nino but in the end, they are riding on a bicycle and smiling.
Amélie. Dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Perf. Audrey Tautou and Mathieu Kassovitz. Twentieth
Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2001. DVD.
Shakespeare, William. The taming of the shrew. Ed. G. R. Hibbard and Margaret JaneKidnie. UK: Penguin , 2015. Print.