Baffling Beauty Breaks The Barrier


Comparing "The Taming of the Shrew" to "50 First Dates"

By: Tahmidul Islam Bhuiyan

As “The Taming of the Shrew” proves, the idea of romantic love contrasting with beauty as been around for years. In “Shrew,” the bold Petruchio affirms that he will woo Katherine as his wife, no matter how many attempts he has to take. In the 2004 movie, “50 First Dates,” the main character realizes the scary secret of his love at first, but still sets himself to face rigorous journeys that he’d never chose to take at first--only to earn her.

    Even though Petruchio and Henry Roth both took different routes to woo their special one’s, they both went overboard with their game plan just because of their special one’s beauty. Taming of the Shrew is a comedy written by William Shakespeare, around 1590. Petruchio and Katherine are the main characters in which most of the focuses lies upon. The main plot depicts the courtship of the convincing Petruchio and the unbearable Katherine. Petruchio is off to the city in the hope of finding himself a wealthy and beauteous wife, that’ll not only listen to him but impress everyone as well. Even though wealth was one major aspect while finding himself a bride, his romantic love at first sight with Katherine had removed the idea of wealth and was replaced with beauty. Petruchio’s romantic love at first sight with Katherine's beauty have urged him to step out of his comfort zone in the hope to win Katherine, who totally resists the proposal. Comparing this plot to the “50 First Dates,” the main character (Henry Roth) sets his heart on romancing Lucy, but soon realizes that she has a short term memory loss; she can’t remember what happened the previous day. This lead Henry to woo Lucy every single morning, in the hope that she’ll soon catch onto him, but unluckily she doesn’t. Lucy’s beauteous look lead Henry’s romantic love to try different tactics to woo her, while convincing Lucy’s family and friends, whom are very protective as well. This proves the idea that beauty is the trigger for love at first sight, and then as a result of this attraction, men go beyond their limits to try and win the woman. This resembles that even though our time period have changed from Shakespeare era to modern day, the fight for one's belief on love at first based on beauty have stayed unchanged.

     ​Henry was in his way to take the Sea Serpent for a trip around the island of Oahu. While he was voyaging, the ship’s wing suddenly crushed into the steering and broke the wind barrier. Henry then had no choice but to release a small safety boat and sail to the nearest island. When he reached the Island, he chose to seat inside a small cafe and kill some time until the Coast Guard gets thee to tow his boat. While he was waiting for his breakfast, he met the beauteous Lucy, while she was having her breakfast. 
Henry Roth was well known as a heartbreaker and a womanizer. His main ideas relates with going out on a date with a random girl, make sure they had an amazing time, and end with a one time sex. When the girls ask for his number the next morning, he ignores them by telling that he’s a secret agent, a traveler, he has a wife and tons of other false excuses. He ignored all the women he went on a date with until Lucy came into his life. Lucy’s ravishly beauteous look have attracted Henry and now he’s on to a chase after Lucy. Even though Henry did want to have sex with Lucy at first place, it slowly disappeared after understanding Lucy’s rare condition. Henry was overly attached with Lucy from the first time he’ve laid his eyes with her.
This segment proves how the beauty is the trigger for love at first sight. For all the dates Henry went on before, this was exclusive since Henry did feel something for someone for the first time ever. Lucy’s beauty have triggered Henry’s inner conscience and made him fall in love with her. This idea can be easily connected to “The Taming of the Shrew.”


You lie, in faith; for you are call'd plain Kate,

And bonny Kate and sometimes Kate the curst;

But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom

Kate of Kate Hall, my super-dainty Kate,

For dainties are all Kates, and therefore, Kate,

Take this of me, Kate of my consolation;

Hearing thy mildness praised in every town,

Thy virtues spoke of, and thy beauty sounded,

Yet not so deeply as to thee belongs,

Myself am moved to woo thee for my wife.

(ACT II SCENE I. Line 193-203 )

Petruchio and others were in an argument behalf the subject of Petruchio marrying Katherine. No one could easily sink that idea of Petruchio wanting to marry Katherine since Katherine wasn’t someone who is easy to handle. Petruchio managed Baptista to give him permission to have a chat with Katherine. Baptista calls Katherine and leaves Petruchio and Katherine in a  room where the they meet each other for the first time.

Even though Petruchio's main idea related to finding himself a bride who is wealthy and beauteous at the same, it soon flourished when he met Katherine for the first time. He was amazed by her beauty, leading himself to forget all the harsh things that was uttered by others about her. Even though Petruchio had acknowledged Katherine’s roughness and unwillingness to cooperate, Petruchio cared less about those matter because Katherine's beauty was Petruchio's main attention, thus leading himself to woo Katherine no matter the cost. Petruchio was certainly devoted in wooing Katherine, but the devotion glued itself stronger when Katherine's beauty is what Petruchio was after. In addition, Petruchio basically tries to speak words that a women likes to hear, making him more vulnerable towards her.

This segment proves how the beauty is the trigger for love at first sight. When Petruchio first met Katherine, all the other important subject had vanished. Petruchio’s love at first sight have also triggered his love for Katherine and her beauty which is followed throughout the play. 

Even though both of these examples had the same idea, there approach were significantly different. When Petruchio first met Katherine, Katherine had no intention or pleasure with talking with him. She constantly disrupted the conversation even though Petruchio constantly had eulogized Katherine’s look. Wherelse in the movie, when Henry first tried to chat with Katherine, she was welcoming and they both have engaged in a well mannered conversation. Basically, Henry had encountered a easier time talking with his love at first sight where Petruchio barely got to talk. But at the end, they both were fond of their future partners beauty and fought for it.

    Lucy’s father and brother both have found out about Lucy’s relation to Henry. They are totalling against Henry and suspects his motifs with Lucy. The father and the brother tries to detect Henry from Lucy but fails to do so. In order to get closer to Lucy’s family and Lucy in general, Henry steals a diary that Lucy’s dad had created and decides to make a video out of it for her.

Previously, Henry was just after random girls but didn’t care much about lasting any kind of relationship with them. He didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of commitment and had always tried to ignore that approach. But in this case, Lucy’s beauty have flourished love at fight sight, and that love leaded Henry to experiment different approaches in which some of Lucy’s lost memory can be returned. Henry didn’t ever try to do things in the favor of his other dates, but in Lucy’s case, Kevin is devoted for her and will help her no matter what, just because her beauty have built up a feeling of love her inside. Not only he took the risk to steal a diary and make a video out of it,  he risked his life to Lucy's father and brother who are over protective about her. This sets Henry to make videos for Lucy every single day, which reminds Lucy about what happened the previous day. Henry went out of his comfort zone to help Lucy out, which shows Henry’s devoted love towards Lucy. Afterall, Henry have no idea will Lucy ever get back to her normal life, but he still continues to strive his best and win her over.

This segment proves how the beauty is the trigger for love at first sight, and then as a result of this attraction, Henry goes beyond his limit to try and win Lucy over, forgetting the rare disease that exists on her. The love that was built inside Henry with the help of Lucy’s beauty is not letting Henry give up hope on Lucy. Henry basically went from viewing women as an object to actually respect and honor them. This idea can be easily connected to “The Taming of the Shrew.”


Why, what's a moveable?


A join'd-stool.


Thou hast hit it: come, sit on me.


Asses are made to bear, and so are you.


Women are made to bear, and so are you.


No such jade as you, if me you mean.


Alas! good Kate, I will not burden thee;

For, knowing thee to be but young and light--


Too light for such a swain as you to catch;

And yet as heavy as my weight should be.

(ACT II SCENE I. Line 207-225)

Petruchio tries to prove earlier that Katherine is the beauteous girl in the whole wide world and everyone constantly compliments about her. Even though Katherine believes that being a lie, Petruchio instantly switches subjects and talks about things that can be more related to Katherine. 
Men and women both tries different tactics to win their love one’s. Some of those tactics prove to be strong, while other ones fails. In this scene, Petruchio is trying to portray himself as a good listener and that she understands Katherine well. Petruchio is proving himself being calm and understandable towards Katherine. Petruchio knows that no one wants to argue with Katherine since she wins all the time and so he's taking that idea as an advantage. Petruchio is willingly talking back and forth with Katherine but in a formal manner that Katherine will appreciate. Any amount of appreciation from Katherine is a jackpot for Petruchio and he’s not willing to lose any chance of that happening. By both agreeing and disagreeing with Katherine in a argument manner, Petruchio is proving himself being close to Katherine and that he’s the right one for her. Son of Antonio, Petruchio never before had gotten in a discussion where he bare others to put him down. Petruchio is known to be a raging bowl of fire who disgusts failures and always aim to win his prey. But this time, Petruchio is losing himself up towards Katherine and letting her control him a bit. By doing this, Petruchio is letting himself do uncomfortable acts and going beyond his limits, just in the hope to win Katherine's beauty. Katherine's beauty certainly took control of Petruchio, making himself vulnerable towards her.

This segment proves how the beauty is the trigger for love at first sight and how soon Petruchio went beyond his limits to win Katherine over. Even though Petruchio and Henry had different approach to get closer to their future brides, their main goal was to please them. Henry took a more calm and approaching manner towards Lucy while he was trying to help her. It made Henry look more supporting towards Lucy, while winning her love as well at the same time. Wherelse, Petruchio’s approach was rough in a sense, but is understandable since Katherine’s is a rough persona to deal with. Petruchio tried is his best manner to do things that Katherine will prefer, so sooner she’ll make the process of making her bride a little easier.

By the end of the play and the movie, both Henry and Petruchio was able to meet their initial goal. There were obstacles in their way which made their journey rough, but they had set their eyes in Lucy’s and Katherine's beauty, which kept them on their feet. Understandably, both the fathers of Katherine and Lucy weren’t able to express their acceptance to the idea of them getting in a relationship. Lucy’s father was always concerned about her rare condition and Katherine’s father was concerned about her angerness. Both Henry and Petruchio were able to cope with those complication and eventually come to a happy ending. This proves the idea that beauty is the trigger for love at first sight, and then as a result of this attraction, men go beyond their limits to try and win the woman. This resembles that even though our time period have changed from Shakespeare era to modern day, the fight for one's belief on love at first based on beauty have stayed unchanged.


  • "50 First Dates Script - Dialogue Transcript." 50 First Dates Script. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

  • <>.  "Taming of the Shrew: Entire Play." Taming of the Shrew: Entire Play. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. <>.

Comments (2)

Kevin Bowser (Student 2017)
Kevin Bowser

I like the examples you chose in support of the thesis. Petruchio's prime motive was to marry Katherine for her wealth as well as instill his dominance over her life. The fact that her beauty influenced his attachment to those objectives holds water. In addition, I like how you manipulated the main idea in 50 first dates, mainly how Henry has to continue to woo Lucy everyday as a result of his physical attraction to her.

Chhievling Seng (Student 2017)
Chhievling Seng

I like your connection from the play with the movie. I also done the same movie, but never thought of it from this perspective, which makes sense. I learned that in both movie and the play, there is an underlying message of how looks can sometimes be the motive in ones action.