Love’s Like A MovieThe Taming of the Shrew / Across The Universe
The Taming of the Shrew features two characters, Lucentio and Bianca. Lucentio came to Padua to attend school, but ended up falling in love with Bianca at first sight. He abandoned his duties with school to pursue Bianca, and hope to court her in marriage. Bianca is the second daughter of Baptista, sister to Katherine. She’s many, many suitors available to her, but she’s unable to marry until Katherine is married off first. Across The Universe, a Beatles musical set during the Vietnam War, is focused around the romance of Lucy (Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds) and Jude. (Hey Jude) Jude came to America, from London, in search of his father and work opportunities. He meets Max, Lucy’s brother, at Princeton, and befriends him. He later meets Lucy and, upon falling in love with her at first sight, abandons his original plans in America to pursue her. Lucy is a student whose boyfriend, Daniel, went to war in Vietnam. She meets Jude just before Daniel dies in the war. Despite Lucy and Jude being in a very different romantic situation than Lucentio and Bianca, both situations stem from love at first sight and the abandonment of the males original goals. The behaviors of people who experience love at first sight are essentially the same, and often come as a distraction.
In the I’ve Just Seen A Face scene of Across The Universe, Jude is at a bowling alley with Max and Lucy after spending thanksgiving with their family goes terribly. Jude realises in this moment that he is ‘in love’ with Lucy.
He’s had exactly one conversation with Lucy before this scene, and yet has decided he’s in love with her. The song’s lyrics, as well as the way the camera follows Jude as he watches Lucy, tells the audience he truly believes he’s in love with her after such a short time. Love at first sight is a very strong factor in this movie’s plot; the events that follow this realization are entirely driven by Jude’s ‘love’ for Lucy.
In The Taming of The Shrew, Tranio openly questions the possibility of love at first sight when Lucentio falls for Bianca after only seeing how she acts with her father and sister in public.
“I pray, sir, tell me, is it possible
That love should of a sudden take such hold.”
(Lines 148-150, A1S1, Tranio)
This quote seems to be countering all ideals the audience may have about love at first sight. He doesn’t believe it’s truly possible for someone to fall in love so suddenly and have it be a true, real love, like Lucentio, or Jude, swears it is. The reaction to love at first sight is very different for either party, though. Lucentio is questioned, while Jude’s situation goes nearly unnoticed until later on, when it’s only commented on very slightly. While love at first sight itself might’ve not changed, the reactions to it certainly have.
Towards the end of the song, Jude questions staying in the town to be around Lucy. (the location of Lucy and Max’s family is never determined)
He originally came to the city to look for his father, who he found, and look for a new life and work, which he didn’t ever accomplish. When he meets Lucy, he gives up the rest of his mission for his love for her.
Lucentio experiences something nearly identical to Jude; he came to a city to attend school, but abandoned it after falling in love with Bianca. In this scene, he decides he’s going to solely pursue Bianca, and ignores attending school entirely for it.
“Tranio, I burn, I pine! I perish, Tranio
If I achieve not this young modest girl.”
(Lines 157-158, A1S1, Lucentio)
Love at first sight often comes with the abandonment of conflicting goals, as seen in Across The Universe, and The Taming of The Shrew. The love at first sight comes as a distraction from their original mission, or goals, that the love interrupts. Had Lucentio not seen Bianca, he would’ve gone to school like his father wished. Had Jude not met Max or Lucy, he would’ve either returned home to his mother or found work in America. However, both parties ended up generally well off in the end. (sans Jude and Lucy’s fallout around midway point for drama.) Love at first sight, despite being a distraction, can work out in the end.
Directly after the bowling alley scene, Max warns Jude of the existence of Daniel, Lucy’s boyfriend in the war. Jude is practically unfazed by this, and jokes about the fact he technically has a girlfriend, too.
Love at first sight also tends to come with obstacles, and the way they’re approached seems to have an impact on the turnout of the love in the end.
The Taming of The Shrew offers the obstacle of Baptista’s rule on how his daughters shall be wed;
“That is, not to bestow my youngest daughter
Before I have a husband for the elder.”
(Lines 50-51, A1S1, Baptista)
Lucentio goes into this challenge with a mindset extremely similar to that of Jude’s about Daniel. That’s okay. He acknowledges the barrier, and vows to find ways around it. He ends up enacting a huge, elaborate plan to get to Bianca, and succeeds. Jude chooses to ignore Daniel’s existence, and Daniel ends up dying in the war not long after. The audience expects the relationships to work out in the end because of how determined and unbothered the males were upon finding out about obstacles related to their love.In a real life situation, Bianca, upon finding out Lucentio was lying to her, wouldn’t have wed Lucentio. Just the same, Lucy, after the fallout with Jude being too controlling and nearly abusive at times, would not have done anything she could to find him again. It’s the expectation of happily ever after in love at first sight situations that drive movies to make conclusions in this way. It’s the audience’s idea that a male being unfazed by obstacles in love, like another boyfriend or a controlling father, will make the love stronger. The reactions to love at first sight have changed over the last century in the way that people have stopped questioning it’s authenticity, especially in plays or movies. Love at first sight is, and has always been, seen as an ideal, happily ever after situation.