Hard to Get

Taming of the Shrew and 500 Days of Summer

Relationships are often pictured as a man chasing after a woman he likes, and she falls right into his arms and they get married and live “happily ever after.” In “Taming of the Shrew,” a man named Petruchio chases a girl named Katherine. Katherine isn’t your average woman pictured in movies and fairytales, she is feisty and fights for what she believes in. Due to the time being, she is being forced to marry Petruchio even though she does not want to. In the movie “500 Days of Summer,” it is almost the same exact way. The main character, Tom, has spent his whole life searching for the woman of his dreams and to marry. He meets Summer. Summer doesn’t believe in love, and expresses that to Tom, but he doesn’t listen, they get into a highly romantic relationship, and she ends up leaving him heart broken. These two stories prove how women do not always have to fall for whichever man shows interest in them, that they are human and when they have the choice, they choose what they want and what is best for them in the long run. It depends on the societal rules of the time: Summer had the choice, Katherine did not because of how women were treated in those times.

“You lie, in faith, for you are called plain Kate, and bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst.”

(Act II, Scene I, Line 179-180)

Katherine meets her soon-to-be husband Petruchio for the first time, and it is not a pleasant experience for her. He forces his way to her, despite her constant disapproval of him. Amongst their bickering, this line shows the fact that Kate is known as a “curst” among the town. This is because she chooses what she wants instead of being weak and fragile as a woman was supposed to be at that time.

The way Summer is seen is almost the same way:

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One of Tom’s coworkers see Tom staring at Summer. He warns him that he hears that she is a bitch and starts calling her degrading words such as a “skank.” Tom looks disappointed, replying “Why do the pretty girls think they can treat people that way?” This is because Summer has turned many guys down, not falling for their charm and choosing her own path. Because of her rejection of love and relationships, men cannot dominate her so therefore they look down upon her. In Taming of the Shrew, Katherine was looked down upon and called names by men because she stood up to them and rejected them if she wanted to. Both women, Summer and Kate, faced ridicule for making their own decisions and choosing what they want.


“Alas, good Kate, I will not burden thee, for knowing thee to be but young and light-” Petruchio


“Too light for such a swain as you to catch and yet as heavy as my weight should be.”

(Act II, Scene I, 196-199)

Petruchio persists on winning Kate over. He even goes on a high speed chase to get to her. She tells him over and over that she does not want him, but he does not care. He knows she is a woman and that he can easily dominate her and make decisions for her. He knew that eventually she would marry him anyways, since everyone wanted Kate to be married very soon and he already had her father's approval.

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Summer is sitting and chatting with Tom and his friend. The friend asks Summer if she has a boyfriend. She replies no, and the two guys are shocked and start asking her if she is a lesbian. She says no, she just likes being alone. She claims she doesn’t believe in love and has never been in it. “There’s no such thing as love, just fantasy.” Tom still proceeds and falls in love with her anyways. In Taming of the Shrew, Katherine was rushed to get married. It was unusual to be her age and not have a husband. She never expressed that she did not want a husband, however, by her stubborn attitude towards the men who wanted her, it shows she wanted to find someone she actually wanted and was not going to settle for just anyone. Summer and Katherine were both, as the quote says, “too light too catch.”


“I see a woman may be made a fool,
If she had not a spirit to resist.”

(Act III, Scene II, 194)

Kate realises after marrying Petruchio that she was a fool. Although she did put up a great deal of resistance, her position as a woman resulted in what she did not want: to marry Petruchio. She is saying that if any women does not resist something that they don’t want at all, that they will end up getting it anyways.

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Summer blatantly ends the entire relationship she had with Tom in one sentence: “I think we should end this thing.” Tom’s emotions and sadness are shown through this scene, he describes how well the relationship was going and how much he loves her and he knows that she is the one. Summer seems to be emotionless and careless, and compares their relationship to another relationship where a woman was murdered, her being the murderer. Tom’s emotions take over and he leaves the restaurant, while Summer yells, “Don’t go, you’re still my best friend!” Tom did not listen to Summer’s thoughts on love in the beginning, therefore he falls in love and she leaves him heartbroken. Summer and Kate’s resistance was blatant throughout both stories, however, both men did not listen to them.

Both Summer and Kate fight for what they want. They both allow themselves to make their own decisions on what they want and what is best for them. Although Kate obviously loses that fight, she still had her ideals on how she wanted her life to go. Kate and Summer both have a unique view on love for a woman to have: they do not need a man by their side. Even though at that time it was the norm to have a husband, Kate did not have one by her age. She denied every chance of having one because she did not like the person. Summer denied men, too, because she did not believe in love. Both women were ridiculed for crossing the boundaries of what they were supposed to feel towards love, which is the fairytale of dreaming about marriage and depending on husbands.