Breaking Hearts or Breaking Stomachs

Both John Tucker must Die and The taming of the shrew show the same theme of dominance and control is the main key to a relationship. Petruchio uses his dominance and his male status to control kate and tame her. While Kate uses her sexilyness and confidence to play John. Both Petruchio and Kate have one common goal, to “tame” their spouse into what they want.

The movie is different from the play in one big way: The idea of taming. In the taming of the shrew Petruchio is looking for rich wife, when he meets Kate he realizes he has to do some work on her. After settling the deal with her father, he decides to tame her by tactics such as starving her, ignoring her, looking down on her, and by doing so he is changing her way of thinking and making her truly believe that a wife’s job is to serve the man.. In John Tucker must die Kate is the new girl at school and she notices that three girls are being played by the same man, John Tucker. The girls decides to get even with John by taming kate to be the perfect woman to make him fall in love. She uses tactics such as joining cheerleading, joining clubs, and a whole new wardrobe. In the end she tames him to be the perfect man. This difference shows that attitudes about “taming” someone have changed--today their our laws that prevent abusing people, so Kate uses her sexyness. But in Shakespeare's time, abuse was very common.

The taming of the shrew is a story about “true” love. Through the play it expressive the idea that love has to be perfect. The perfect women, the perfect house, the perfect wealth, and the perfect “shrew”. Petruchio express what he wants in marriage, wealth. He doesn’t care who he marries as long as they are rich.

“I come to wive wealthily in Padua; if wealthily then happily in Padua.”
Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 76-77.

Kate matches Petruchio perfect woman, why she is the daughter of a wealthy man who owns a ton of land. Petruchio follows the rule that is set in place, that true love is perfect. So he persuses the rich man's daughter but realizes that in order for it to be a perfect marriage, he has to tame her.

“After my death, the one half of my lands, And, in possession, twenty thousand crowns.”

Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 115

After learning how rich Kate is and will be when her father dies, he becomes very determined to win her.

In the movie, John Tucker is the typical high school jock, he has all the ladies, the looks, and the clothing. All the girls want him and all the guys want to be him. John has 3 girlfriends, one is an over achiever, one is a cheerleader, and eco friendly person. One thing they all have in common is that they are known in the school, Unlike Kate.

“John Tucker, Let's face it, He is the man,
Captain of the basketball team, his family's loaded...
and he looks somewhere between an Abercrombie model...
and a Greek god,- Kate”

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Kate was more of a shy and quiet girl. She moves around a lot because her mother goes from relationship to relationship. So Kate never really was able to make friends. Kate considered herself to be invisible, no one ever noticed her. It’s safe to say that Kate and John are the total opposite from each other unlike Petruchio and Kate (TTOTS).

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“I was in seventh grade...  
when I realized
I was invisible- Kate”

Petruchio main goal to have in a woman is wealth, but he wants more. He decided to tame the loud and confident kate with tactics such as starving her, leaving her, and embarrassing her. He wants the perfect woman so bad that he changes her so she can fit his ideal woman instead of accepting her for how she is.

“Women are made to bear, and so are you.”

Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 1048

After a while Kate accepts Petruchio and changes herself. The play presents the idea of everything being perfect in order to have the perfect marriage. At the end of Kate’s little sister's wedding, their husbands check to see who’s wife will listen to them. Kate’s sister didn’t answer to her husband and kate called her out on it.

“Fie, fie, unknit that threat'ning unkind brow
And dart not scornful glances from those eyes
To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor.
It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads,
Confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair buds,
And in no sense is meet or amiable.
A woman moved is like a fountain troubled,
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty,
And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee
And for thy maintenance; commits his body
To painful labor both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou li'st warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks, and true obedience--
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince,
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;
And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
I am ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace,
Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway,
Whey they are bound to serve, love, and obey.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come, you froward and unable worms,
My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
My heart as great, my reason haply more,
To bandy word for word and frown for frown.
But now I see our lances are but straws,
Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
And place your hands below your husband's foot,
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready, may it do him ease.”

Act V, Scene 2, Lines 2644

Kate is trying to get back at John for treating women like crap, but maybe it’s a little more than that. Kate is making a statement to all men, especially the ones that play her mother. Never treat a women wrong, or she will come a get you. With the help of her new friends, she becomes the perfect women that John looks for in a woman. She goes from being an outcast to one of the most popular girl in school.

“And we can make you into anything, If we combine...
all of us, we can make him fall in love with you-.

I mean really fall in love- and then we'll...
yank it all out from under him,”

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After coming to the realization that they can just break his heart, the three friends (AKA John’s ex girlfriend) and combine themselves into her. Making her the “perfect” woman for John to fall in love with.

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“Who’s the new cheerleader? She’s hot”- John

Kate went along with the plan. She will be the perfect woman for John Tucker. When he falls in love with her, she will break his heart like he did to the other girls. Some of the tactics used to make her “perfect” was trying out for cheerleading. What is more perfect than the caption of the basketball team dating the cheerleader.

Kate proved her love to Petruchio when she listened to his command and gave a speech on how women are made to please and served their husband. Petruchio uses abuse to tame kate into his perfect woman.

“Why, there's a wench! Come on, and kiss me, Kate.”

Act V, Scene 2, Line 2688

John being the typical high school jock, fell for the new kate. But the plan started not to work when kate blurred the lines between acting in love and being in love. In a nutshell, John found out about Kate's plans and broke up with her. Kate then apologized and John became the perfect man. He was not cheating anymore, lying anymore, and being disrespectful.

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“And John Tucker?
We definitely got to him,  
He never lied to a girl again,


What is “real love”? Is it chanling everyone to be the perfect match or accepting their flaws? One thing to consider is the time period of both the movie and play. Love evolved over the years from being the perfect match to beating the odds. The taming of the shrew uses the idea of the perfect match with Petruchio and Kate by pairing the two crazy couples together. While John Tucker must die beats the standards that Shakespeare put by making the basketball player fall in love with the social outcast. So should “taming” be apart of the definition of “love”? Well one thing for sure is that it is a common theme through love stories.

Comments (2)

Brandon Jones (Student 2017)
Brandon Jones

Your essay was very thought provoking. It makes the reader realize many different ideas but one in particular that stood out was that people seek to "perfect" the imperfections of others. Especially in a relationship. Good work

Zoe Andersson (Student 2017)
Zoe Andersson

I really liked this essay. I enjoyed how you questioned Petruchio's "taming" of Katherine, and showed the flaws in both the play and the movie. Though the movie seems less antiquated, there are still very similar themes to be addressed.