Father Knows Best

Father Knows Best

Comparing the play “the Taming of the Shrew” to the film “50 First Dates”

Shakespeare’s play, “The Taming of the Shrew” displays the idea that love at first sight truly exists. In the play, when young scholar Lucentio comes to Padua and sees Bianca for the first time, he immediately falls in love. Lucentio decides from that moment on that he will do whatever it takes to marry Bianca. Similarly, in the film “50 First Dates,” Henry, a Hawaiian player, falls for a local girl named Lucy who suffers from short term memory loss. The second he sees her, he feels more strongly about her than he has for any other girl, which leads him to pull crazy stunts to try and get Lucy to fall for him everyday. Not only do Lucentio and Henry have to convince their perspective women to fall for them, but they also have to convince the girls’ fathers. The fathers in both the play and movie are skeptical of the potential relationships.

Even though both men go through similar processes when trying to win over the women of their dreams, they have different obstacles. For one, the two obstacles Lucentio faces when trying to marry Bianca are that she has many different suitors after her, and also that her father won’t let her marry until his eldest daughter is married. The two obstacles Henry faces are that she forgets who he is everyday, leaving him to convince her to fall for him all over again daily. The other obstacle faced by Henry is that Lucy’s father has no intention of ever allowing Lucy to get married as he wants to protect her. Even though their are a couple specific differences between the play and the movie, the overall messages remain the same. These texts show that even though love at first sight is real, the woman’s father will always have the final say in marriage.

“I firmly am resolved you know:

That is, not to bestow my youngest daughter

Before I have a husband for the elder.”

(Act I, Scene i, 48-51)

In this quote, two suitors have approached Baptista, Bianca’s father, with interest in marrying Bianca. Baptista lays down the law by telling them he will decide when Bianca is able to be married.

In “50 First Dates,” Lucy’s father also has strong commandments that must be followed.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 10.47.20 AM
Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 10.47.20 AM

In this scene from “50 First Dates,” Henry goes to Lucy’s house for the first time. Lucy’s father, Marlin, stops Henry from coming inside, and pulls him to the back of the house to give him a talk. This would be expected out of a father of a teenager, or a younger girl, however Henry and Lucy are both adults. Marlin is in complete charge of Henry and Lucy’s relationship, and is the determining factor of whether Henry will even be allowed to see Lucy or not. Both the film and the play have a strong father character who is not willing to back down from his rules.

“They have by marriage made thy daughter mine

While counterfeit supposes bleared thine eyne.”

(Act V, Scene i, 120-121)

In this quote, Lucentio has just confessed to deceiving Baptista in order to win Bianca’s love. This quote shows how Lucentio knew that Baptista would make the decisions for Bianca, so he had to go behind Baptista’s back to be with her.

Henry also knows that Lucy’s father will be the determining factor in their relationship, and decides to also pull a few tricks.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 10.57.43 AM
Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 10.57.43 AM

This scene takes place after Marlin tells Henry not to go back to the diner where he meets Lucy. Like Lucentio, Henry knows that Lucy’s father will never allow him to see Lucy, so he goes behind Marlin’s back. Both Lucentio and Henry plan crazy tactics to see the women they love. The difference between the two characters is that Lucentio knows that once Katherine is married first, Baptista will be fine with him marrying Bianca, so he just has to wait to tell Baptista of his shenanigans. With Henry, he doesn’t think that Marlin will ever let him be with Lucy, so he has to find a way to convince Marlin that he is worthy of Lucy’s love.

In both the play “the Taming of the Shrew” and the film “50 First Dates,” it is shown that a woman’s father will make the decisions in her relationship, even if she and her partner already know they are in love. Even after hundreds of years have passed, it is still morally correct, just as it was in Shakespeare’s time, to have the father’s approval of a marriage, or relationship.