Expecting the Expected

Comparing the book “Taming of the Shrew” to the film “Bridesmaids”

Romance has been around for decades, and similar patterns seem to be clear by comparing the book, “Taming of the Shrew” from the 1500’s, to a fairly recent romantic comedy, “Bridesmaids” from 2011. Both examples have similar relationships, were in Taming of the Shrew Petruchio a bold and masculine character pursues to marry the infamously difficult Katherine, likewise, where the main character Annie is seen as difficult and complicated, where she can’t manage to handle a relationship with genuine and kind officer Rhodes. In a relationship, in both the book and the movie demonstrate how clashing expectations often cause another partner to change accordingly or to be changed so that a relationship might work. Although, in the movie and the book, Petruchio and Rhodes take on different tactics to effectively fix their significant other to have the ideal relationship.

“What, will you not suffer me? Nay, now I see

She is your treasure, she must have a husband,

I must dance barefoot on her wedding day

And, for your love to her, lead apes in hell.

Talk not to me. I will go sit and weep

Will I can find occasion of revenge.”

(Act 2, Scene 1, 34-77)

At the beginning of his scene of this scene, Katherine and her sister Bianca bickering about marriage. Katherine, being the older sister is frustrated by the fact that no man expresses interest in marriage unless it is with her younger sister. She is also often being overlooked by her father, where he only has his best interest for Bianca. Many suitors only are drawn to Bianca because of her endearing personality that many of them find very attractive opposed to Katherine who is very unpleasant at the beginning of the play. Katherine quickly becomes frustrated and expresses her feelings. She makes it clear that she is well aware that Bianca is the prefered daughter and that she is upset that she has not found someone to marry unlike her sister. With that said, this shows the audience the character Katherine , unwanted because of her unlikely character, yet she is annoyed by the fact she has no one to marry. This sets the stage for the initial change of Katherine, how she starts off as a bitter unwanted person, but because of the expectation she has to marry someone, and the expectation Petruchio has for her, it alters who she is as a person.

Similarly, Annie, the main character from the movie “Bridesmaids”, is also a conflicting character.

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Likewise to Katherine, she has her various problems which seems to make an impact in her relationships. In the first scene of the movie, Annie is introduced by having sex with a go-to hookup Ted, in which he has no interest in pursuing  a real relationship with her. Ted and Annie are lying in bed where Annie starts to bring up the conversation of what their status is, making it clear to the audience she has different motives than he does, where he quickly says, “I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep.”, which refers to a relationship. After that Annie quickly agrees, lying about the fact that she does indeed want a relationship. Annie has an expectation for a relationship that Ted clearly can’t make, so she simply changes herself and what she wants to accomodate the relationship for Ted so that it will continue.

“And woo her with some spirit when she comes!

Say that she rail, why then I’ll tell her plain

She sings sweetly as a nightingale.

Say that she frown, I’ll say she looks as clear As morning roses newly washed with dew.

Say she be mute and will not speak a word,

Then I’ll commend her volubility

And say she uttereth piercing eloquence.

If she do bid me pack, I’ll give her thanks

As though she bid me stay by her a week.

If she deny to wed, I’ll crave the day

When I shall ask the banns, and when be married.

But here she comes - and now, Petruchio, speak.”

(Act 2, Scene 1 , 177-180)

Here in this part of the scene, Petruchio reveals that he plans on marrying Katherine, and in order to do so, uses various tactics to pursue her. Petruchio explains that he will try to change her bad habits by complementing or flaws or choices of action that she uses to push people away. With these tactics he uses, they are manipulating and almost aggressive to forcefully change Katharine into the wife he expects her to be.

Unlike Petruchio, Rhodes uses more nurturing tactics on Annie to more so change her rather than force her to be someone else.

Instead of playing mind games with Annie, he forces her to face her past where he believes is the root problem, where in this scene he lays out baking materials to help her connect with something that was once important to her. Rhodes hopes that by having Annie work through her problems, she will be able to fulfil the ideal girlfriend that he has in mind. Both Rhodes and Petruchio seek a relationship, but in order for that to work they have expectations that need to be met.

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“I am ashamed that women are so simple

To offer was where they should kneel for peace,

Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway

When they are bound to serve, love, and obey.”

(Act 5, Scene 2 , 177-180)

In the final scene of the play, Katherine gives her infamous speech of how women should not resist, but simply obey their husbands and give them nothing but respect. By this point in the play, Katherine has transformed into a new person after the countless mind games and tactics Petruchio used to change her into a more ladylike wife. As Katherine says in the quote, she explains how she is ashamed of women who would seek rule or supremacy, which was almost the type of person she was before. This shows how Petruchio changed Katherine to accommodate the expectation he has for a wife, while Katherine changes herself, practically criticizing the type of person she was before. In the end, Petruchio successfully chnages his significant other to have an ideal relationship for himself.

Lucky for Rhodes, he ends up with Annie like Petruchio does with Katherine.

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In the last scene of the movie “Bridesmaids”, Rhodes surprises Annie at a wedding she was attending, after she had worked through her problems like he thought he would. Unlike Petruchio, Rhodes had hoped that by giving Annie the space she needed, and allowing her to figure out the issues she had on her own after he tried to help her, he ends up being able to have the relationship he initially wanted. Annie knew Rhodes expected her to change for the better so that she could be with him, in the right circumstances, and that’s exactly what she does.

In all relationships, from hundreds of years ago to know, still seem to have the same sort so expectation. In both the book, “Taming of the Shrew” and “Bridesmaids” they reveal that expectations in relationships need to be fulfilled in order for them to work. Both Petruchio and Rhodes pursued difficult characters to begin with, and in order for them to have the relationship they desered, they both had tactics on changing their partner to make it work. In respect to the time period, Petruchio used a much more abusive way to change Katherine, in which he plays mind games with her, and almost brainwashes her into hating who she once was. On the other hand though, this highlights how modern times have changed the types of expectations and respect there are in relationships. Rhodes, like Petruchio, needed Annie to change, but instead of using abusive tactics, he nurtures her to face her past and fix her problems on her own. In the end both of these relationship portrays that in relationships, in order for them to work, someone will have to change for the other person, traditionally a woman for a man.  

Work Cited

Shakespeare, William, G. R. Hibbard, and Margaret Jane Kidnie. The Taming of the Shrew. UK: Penguin, 2015. Print.

Bridesmaids. Perf. Paul Feig. YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web.

Comments (4)

Charles Velazquez (Student 2018)
Charles Velazquez

Your thesis is very interesting, I like how you compared characters from the play to characters of the movie. The examples you used was thoroughly explained and never left me feeling lost.

Athalia Tan (Student 2018)
Athalia Tan

I like that you kept within your main focus throughout the essay. I think that your visual essay was detailed, both the context and the analysis. You made clear comparisons and contrasts between the book and the movie.

Harrison Wellner (Student 2018)
Harrison Wellner

I found it interesting how over all these years this expectations still exists and plays a role in romantic relationships. There's a bit of a repetitive nature in humans made clear by it, and it's strange to consider. Overall, this was an interesting read and I liked the way you tied the film and the play together.

Jevon Price (Student 2018)
Jevon Price

I like that your thesis and argument remained clear throughout your essay. You gave a good amount of context so I understand why the movie correlates to the book.