Chasing the Standards of Society

In the play Taming the Shrew the play suggests that romantic relationships are about achieving the status symbol of being an adult in society. In Taming the Shrew Katherine is described as a head strong girl that no one wants, because she is wild or shrew like. Petruchio wins her over with his wits and ends up marrying her, although his main plan is to tame his wife and rid her of her shrew like nature. In the 2004 movie Chasing Liberty there are the main characters with  Anna Foster and Ben Calder are two characters in a complicated relationship where Anna is the president's daughter and must be protected, and Ben is a secret service agent, but Anna doesn’t know his true identity. Anna ditches the secret service agents and Ben must follow her to insure her overall safety and protection. On the surface, this plot may appear to have nothing to do with the story of “Shrew” One thing has become clear in analysing both Taming the Shrew and Chasing Liberty the fact that relationships are a part of achieving the status symbol of being an adult. As a result, teens want them, and for more than just having romance. Katherine and Anna share similar emotions and motivations in their stories. Katherine is held down by the expectations of her society. By what her father wants and prospective suitors who would be her husband. In contrast  Anna is held down by her father's profession and his protectiveness, but wants to experience life on her own. Although both Katherine and Anna show the same craving for freedom, in order for women to be seen as adults in their societies they have to have “romantic” relationships.  

"Quote from Play"

Act II, Scene 1; 905

Baptista Minola: Y'are 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.

Petruchio: I see you do not mean to part with her;

Or else you like not of my company.

Baptista Minola: Mistake me not; I speak but as I find.

In the quote from Taming the Shrew Petruchio and Baptista are talking about Katherine. Petruchio starts off by saying what a lovely girl she is and all the wonderful things he has heard about her. Although Kathrine just had a fight with her sister and made a big commotion. The father keeps trying to downplay Katherine and persuade Petruchio differently, so that he won’t take interest in his daughter.

The parental relationship that Katherine shares with her father is very similar to Anna and her father's relationship in Chasing Liberty.  

Screenshot 2016-04-20 at 10.43.30 PM.pngIn the scene Anna’s parents are talking about understanding her and why she needed freedom. This is after she’s run away with a guy she thinks is a photographer. They discuss how she at least needs the illusion of freedom. Just like Baptisia they seek to control their daughters and limiting them from having certain things.

"Quote from Play"

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 labour both by sea and land,

To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,

Whilst thou liest 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.

. . .

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.



This scene happens at the end of the play, where Petruchio makes a bet with whose wife is more obedient and he wins the bet. This quote shows not only Katherine and Petruchio’s relationship, but how husband and wife relationships were viewed in that time period. When Katherine married Petruchio she got some freedom from her father. This relationship was the only way to achieve this freedom, because her father Baptista had the power to control her future. Although some would argue about giving her freedom to her husband Petruchio, but by looking at their relationship closely, it's a give and take relationship. She respects Petruchio as her husband. He gives her a freedom she could have could’ve never achieved with Baptista. When she married Petruchio instead being viewed as a kid Baptisias opinion of Kathrine changes, he thinks of her as a wife instead of a child.

In Chasing Liberty Anna’s father opinion about her age and what she is ready for changes overtime too.    


In this scene Anna and Ben (The other romantic lead) have just reconnected after being separated when she was taken home. After Anna left Ben, her and her parents saw her heartbreak they started to trust her more and gave her more freedom. The relationship between Ben and Anna was seen as a life experience that she had grown from. So they gave her the freedom that she craved.  

Chasing Liberty and Taming the Shrew have similarities in that society views romantic relationships the same. That overall “romantic” relationships are viewed as an adult thing or is reserved for adulthood. This show that society's opinion of relationship hasn’t changed overtime. When Taming the Shrew was written in 1593, even though there opinion of women are different from what our current society thinks, it still is surrounded by the idea that a woman's life isn’t complete without romance. Analysing Chasing Liberty and Taming the Shrew it is shown that society’s opinion about woman and adulthood has stayed the same and is likely to stay unchanged.

Comments (1)

Chloë Epstein (Student 2017)
Chloë Epstein

I thought it was interesting that you go into how relationships are specifically about becoming an adult and growing up. Some of the other essay's i've read seem to have a common theme of power and control, so this one stood out.