Give and Take

  Give and take

“The taming of the Shrew” and the movie “The Proposal”

In the book “Taming of the Shrew” we find Petruchio of Padua searching for a maiden to wife with a handsome dowry. He winds up setting his eyes on Katherine who is then forced upon Petruchio and wedded to him. We then move on to the movie “The Proposal” which follows the lives of Margaret and Andrew. Margaret winds up in a tough circumstance, unless she is wedded she would be deported back to Canada and lose her position as chief editor of a Book publishing company. She therefore drags Andrew along, and pretends they are engaged.

The difference between the two circumstances is that in the case of Margaret and Andrew they both have equal power in terms of the transaction. Unlike Katherine's case in which she has no benefits of wedding Petruchio,  Andrew has a say in what exactly will be his reward for following this plan. Both examples of “Taming of a Shrew”, and “The Proposal”show that love is only based off of a give and take relationship, where each person wants what the other person can provide for them. Romantic love is just the illusion to cover up this exchange.

“And, for that dowry, I’ll assure her of

Her widowhood, be it that she survive me,

In all of my lands and leases whatsoever.

Let specialities be therefore drawn between us,

That covenants may be kept on either hand.”

Act. 2 Sc. 1 pg. 83

In this quote Petruchio is having a discussion with Baptista who is the father of Katherine over what will be the contents of their transaction, if he were to marry Katherine. During this time period it was a frequent occurrence for suitors to discuss and make deals with the fathers of women over what both parties would receive if the Daughter were to be wedded to them. Whether it was true love or not was but a small say in the matter. If the suitors offer was generous enough then all of the woman's attempt to protest would become obsolete. Petruchio promises of her widowhood but this surely would not be the only issue Katherine would have in the Marriage.

In the movie we see Margaret negotiating with Andrew of what he will receive for following through with the false wedding.

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Here Andrew communicates to Margaret what exactly he expects out of this arrangement once she has received her green card. The movie, and “Taming of the Shrew” Portray the act of marriage as a transaction in which both parties determine what shall be expected once the couple are bound together. In neither the book or movie do the Parties have little to any romantic feelings towards one another but marriage is still accepted. Furthermore in contrast to “Taming of the Shrew” both partners in this situation have equal authority over what they will benefit from this deal. The movie shows a more modern instance on how relationships are dealt with. Women here have the power to control what shall be what shall be provided for them once the marriage is official. While in the book Petruchio is predominantly the one who decides how the bargain will be executed in the end. Katherine serves an example of how historically the power of women to which they possess for themselves was little to none.

“Too little payment for so great a debt.

Such Duty as the subject owes a prince”

Act 2 Sc.2 Pg.219

For this second quote we have Katherine who was originally the most defiant against Petruchio and her relationship defend it. Furthermore she deemed it necessary to tell two other women of how they should respect and honor their husbands. It is the least they should do, for they owe them with their lives. This all happens due to the other two wives unwillingness to come to their husbands. Katherine shows us an aspect of how men and women behaves once they are married. Men and women trick themselves in believing that every action they do for their significant other is out of love. But this is just to shroud the truth that they are only fulfilling their end in the bargain and providing what was to be expected of them once they are together. Katherine justifies this belief once she scolds the other wives.

For the next scene Andrew has just rushed back from Alaska after Margaret called of the wedding and flew back to New york to be deported.

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Margaret feels guilty once she has seen Andrew's family and calls the wedding off. She declares the real reason for why the wedding existed in the first place and abruptly leaves. Andrew dazed by what just happened rushes back to New York to tell her how he feels. Similar to Katherine in the book Margaret has a realization and shortly notifies everyone that she is not worthy of Andrew and how well he has been treated by his family. During this speech she also tells Andrew, “Andrew this was a business deal and you held up your end but now the deal is off ” Margaret realizes that marriages are business deals and that she would be better off on her own. Unlike katherine who submits to Petruchio she can freely walk away from the marriage entirely.

 “The Proposal” and “Taming a Shrew” both show that society still perceives marriage as two people who love each other but the only purpose this serve is to cover up the transaction that is taking place. “Taming a Shrew takes place in the era of which it was okay if this deal was not hidden. Modern society has changed to become ignorant of that and make it seem like “love” is the culprit. The only real change that has occurred in modern society is that now both parties are free to decide who they want to marry and what they expect from it.

Comments (2)

Logan Smith (Student 2017)
Logan Smith

I like how you focused on the theme that "love is a myth." It was interesting how you proved that thesis in both the play and the movie through the comparison of the characters. Good job.

Kevin Bowser (Student 2017)
Kevin Bowser

I like the connections you made with the characters. Petruchio and Margaret are using these "false" marriages for wealth or for the purpose of remaining in the country. But I like the contrast between Andrew, who is the embodiment of Katherine, in his predicament. In addition, the fact that the male and female roles are switched really ties into the idea that both sexes can take up the manipulative position.