Father’s Approval

Comparing "Taming of the Shrew" to "Coming to America"

Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew", starts out by showing the reader that in relationships parental interference plays a big role and is part of the root of a relationship. In "Taming of the Shrew" the father of Katherine and Bianca Batista, is the person that one must go through and satisfy in order to have his daughters hand in marriage. The leading man (Akeem) and lady (Lisa) in the 1988 movie “Coming to America” struggles with mating with the one that their true heart desires because of their parents. Akeem’s and Lisa’s father both want their child to marry the person of their choice. 

Although Baptisia, King Jeffe (Akeem’s father), and Cleo (Lisa’s father) already have their hearts set out on who and how their daughters/son should marry, each of their interest is set out in different directions. Baptisia has a role that the eldest daughter must get married first in order for the young to get married. King Jeffe wants his son to marry a woman who was raised to be an obedient queen of which he wants to choose for Hakeem. Cleo wants his daughter to be romantically involved with a man who has a lot of money. In this movie and play the parents have a big say therefore if they say no not much goes right. Although in both “Taming the Shrew” and the movie “Coming to America” the father figures have influence over their children's choice of their spouse, the two situations are different because the expectations in the movie are even higher than the ones in the play. This reflects that parents seem to be more involved in their children’s relationships today. 

In Act 1 scene 1 lines 48-54 of “Taming the Shrew”, in Batista's home two men name Lucentio and Hortensio come before Baptista to ask for his youngest daughter, Bianca’s hand in marriage. Baptisia walking into the scene with both daughter responds by saying “Gentlemen, importune me no farther, For how I firmly am resolved you know: That is not to bestow my youngest daughter Before I have a husband for the elder. If either of you both love  Katherine, Because I know you well and love you well, Leave shall you have to court her at your pleasure.”Basically what Baptista is saying that no one can persuade him from his final decision which is his the eldest daughter, Katherine must marry first before Bianca can get married. If one of them would like to take Katherine in order to get to Bianca they can. In the century of the book one had to pay for the bride to be ones so already in order to marry one would need to have  money. But Baptista wanted nothing more than for his first daughter to be married for the belief was if a women grew old with no husband she would wither away in hell. Baptista continued on by saying that since they are “friends” if they would like to have Katherine along with Bianca they could. Not caring what would happen to the both of them afterwards. They really wanted Bianca to begin with and even said so. As long as Katherine is married first is all he really cared about. Showing that nothing else really matters but that one thing. Though asking for Katherine to get married first is a big thing it is not as big as characterizing the spouse for Katherine and Bianca.

hakeem & father
hakeem & father

In this scene of the movie Coming to America Prince Akeem explains to his father why he is not feeling well. He wishes to do things himself, especially choose his own bride. But King Jeffe tries to assure him that the women he has already chosen is the perfect fit and that Akeem shouldn’t have to worry about a thing, after all he is a prince. At the breakfast table once King Jeffe sees that it is really about not choosing his own that bothers Akeem he shouts “Aha!” feeling successful to have “cracked the code”. He starts out by trying to guilt Akeem of how he and his mother have gone through a great deal of trouble to find his queen. Then he eases the tension by including that she was raised to do everything a queen would. When Akeem tries to dismantle what the king says by asking “What if I do not love her?” The king disregards the question and acts on it as if it was just the wedding jitters talking and replying that it is normal to be nervous about meeting her. Then Akeem’s mother joins in and supports the king’s response by telling her experience on meeting Akeem’s father and how nervous and terrified she was. The king ends off by saying “You see my son there is fine line between love and nausea.” and how doing things for oneself is an overrated experience. The camera shoots each person by themselves when they talk because each person has a different thought to say but when Akeem first comes and sits by his parents all of them are shown in one shoot and then it just goes to Akeem and his father. Also in this conversation the camera is mostly being viewed on the father which reflects on how Akeem’s father keeps his head up high. Which reflects that the king stands firm on each decision he makes and when it comes to his son he knows best. The only reason why the king want to pick Akeem’s bride for him is because he wants her to have all the characteristics and qualities that he thinks are more than acceptable to him. She has to be exactly what he wants for Akeem. 

As one can see, though the king and Baptista start with similar tactics of persuasion they end the conversation in contrasting topics. Baptista says to his servant“Nay, let them go, a couple of quiet ones.” (Act 3, Scene 2, Line 245) The situation that happened for this quote to be said by Baptista in the book was Katherine’s wedding day with Petruchio. Petruchio seemed to be a fine man who wanted Katherine’s heart until he decided to show up late, drunk, and  in rags to be married in. During the wedding, he threw the bible on the ground and punched the  priest. Soon after the wedding and the dinner he suddenly wanted to leave with Katherine as fast as possible. But Katherine and Baptista wanted to them both to stay least for a little while. But Petruchio was already set on leaving, so Katherine told him if he really loved her he would stay. His response was that was to tell his servant to get the horses ready. After this, Katherine refused to do anything with him, so he sweet talked her onto his side. They ended up leaving anyway and Baptista says that quote which means just let them be, they are a peaceful couple. Katherine’s happiness is the least of Baptista’s concerns. As long as she’s married and seems to be taking care that’s all that matters. Baptista witnessed the unstable things Petruchio did and still let Katherine go off with him and went about his life. 

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 8.30.36 PM
Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 8.30.36 PM

Later in the movie as soon as Cleo finds out that Akeem is a prince he completely and fully accepts the relationship between Akeem and his daughter and tries to take Lisa’s ex-boyfriend out of the picture. During this scene Akeem take’s Lisa home from their date and evidently Cleo tries to keep him over so he can inform Akeem’s father about his whereabouts. When seeing Akeem, Cleo greets him with a big smile (like never before), welcomes him into his home, offers and insist that he has a seat and drink, and says how they need to start talking to each other more. While Cleo slips to get the drink he actually goes into the kitchen to tell Akeem’s dad his address and that he’s here. Soon after the doorbell rings and Cleo answers. It’s Lisa’s ex-boyfriend Darryl with roses (before Cleo found out about Akeem’s throne he and Darryl planned to get Darryl and Lisa back together and it was set to tonight). Once Cleo opens the door and sees it Darryl he slams it on his face. When Cleo comes back to Lisa and Akeem, Lisa asks who was at the door and Cleo lies that it was jehovah witnesses. Darryl rings the doorbell again and Cleo runs to the door practically tripping over the rug, trying the avoid the suspicion on Lisa and Akeem’s face, answers the door and yells at Darryl “Look! The girl doesn’t like you anymore! Can’t you get that through your greasy head!” and slams the door before Darryl could finish his sentence. The third time Cleo has to open the door because Darryl knocked the door he says “I warned ya didn’t I?! Donny get him!”, his dog goes hurtling towards Darryl, biting and barking at him, and Cleo closes his door for the last time. Now that Cleo knows about Akeem’s riches he will stop at nothing to keep Lisa and Akeem together. He practically injured himself to do so. In this scene the camera is focused a lot on Cleo and his body language. His antsy movements in trying to make Akeem stay, the big smile on his face, sweet talk when Akeem’s around, the running to the door, and the vein on his head that pops up when he see’s Darryl at the door. By this one can analyze that not only does Cleo care about who has more money for his daughter and himself but he finds that it is up to him that no one stands in his way. 

Though Cleo and Baptista both want their daughters to be married it is for different reasons if which are on different scales of stakes. In the end of “Taming the Shrew” Katherine stays married to the wretched Petruchio, endures his treachery and Baptista questions nothing about their marriage. In the movie “Coming to America” all of the parents secretly discussed it out and allow Akeem and Lisa to wed one another. One can see that in both the play and the movie the parents are the ones who seem to make the all the decisions for their child and have the power to do as they please in whatever form or shape. But what separates and classifies the two is that in the movie the parents are more absorbed and have interest in the relationship of their kin than of the parent in the play. Society evolved and change the ideal parent from being carefree and have a couple rules to a more involved parent with more of a higher standards for their children. The book and The movie both reflect that parent involvement in their children's love life is more common today than any other time period.