Modern Relationships: Comparing Taming of the Shrew with Elf

“Taming of the Shrew” proves that the myth of romance  has been around for a long time. In the Shakespearean play, Petruchio wants to marry Katherine, and will not let anything stop him. In the 2003 holiday film “Elf,” the main character wants to go out with a woman he met in the city, but his naive, silly personality changes the outcome.

Petruchio and Buddy the Elf may have goals that are somewhat the same, but the tactics they use are quite different. Petruchio throws himself at Katherine and acts aggressive with the support of his friends. Buddy the Elf, however, is very silly, especially when he eventually asks his interest out on a date. These two situations show the different kinds of humor that love and romance have, but they also show the differences in which men treat women.  

“Thou must be married to no man but me. For I am he am born to tame you, Kate, And bring you from a wild Kate to a Kate conformable as other household Kates.”

(Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 290 - 293)

In this quote, Petruchio is confronting Katherine, demanding that he will marry her with nothing getting in his way. He is stating that he will eventually tame her, going from a “wild” Kate to a normal Kate. No other man will marry Katherine but Petruchio.

Another Petruchio, Buddy the Elf, finds himself in a somewhat similar situation, although the way he handles himself is very different.


In the middle of the movie “Elf,” Buddy meets a beautiful employee in a little christmas store while wandering in the mall, and instantly develops a crush on her. Unlike Petruchio, Buddy doesn’t have the desire to ask someone out on a date until he meets the girl. Also the girl, Jovie, is similar to Katherine in this scene because she tried to avoid talking to anyone, including Buddy. She does this because she is “just trying to get through the holidays.” This fuels the humor in the movie, especially showing how innocent Buddy is.

“Now must the world point at poor Katherine and say ‘Lo, there is mad Petruchio’s wife, if it would please him come and marry her.’ “

(Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 18 - 20)

In this quote, Katherine is complaining to Tranio (disguised as Lucentio) that she cannot do anything to stop the marriage. She feels ignored and that no one wants to help her, and instead congratulate Petruchio for marrying her. In the time when the play was written, women were not treated with the respect that they deserved and were given little say in major decisions Katherine is treated like that in this scene.

However in Elf, Jovie seems to have been tamed much faster than Katherine.

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When Buddy attempts to ask Jovie out on a date, she actually says yes to him. He takes her all around New York, looking at christmas trees and ice skating. It is somehow these little things that cause Jovie to like Buddy back. It makes Buddy so happy that he runs into his father’s workspace and shouts, “I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!” Not only does this moment compare to most modern relationships, it also compares to the way Petruchio treats Katherine. He forces himself on Katherine, destined to marry her, while Buddy treats Jovie with respect and has fun on his date.

That Buddy ends up with the girl he likes reinforces the idea that women have more control, as well as the man’s tactics to get the girl. While both Buddy and Petruchio and up with the girl, Petruchio only has a wife, but Buddy has even taught Jovie to step out of her comfort zone. She used to be afraid of singing in public, but learns that “the best way to spread christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”