Money, Love, Business

Comparing “Taming of the Shrew” to  “Can’t Buy Me Love”

 In the Taming of the Shrew, the play proves that marriage is a business transaction, so one may become more wealthy or become on a higher social class. In “Shrew” Petruchio is willing to marry Katherine for the money despite that no man will marry her because of her mean demeanor and hot temper. Katherine’s father Baptista negotiates in finding the right suitor, to get the best deal, for his personal gain. In the 1987 movie Can’t Buy Me Love”, Ronald Miller uses his money to pay off the lead cheerleader so he may become popular.

  Petruchio and Baptista both compare to Ronald but in “Shrew” Petruchio and Baptista want to gain money by marriage and Ronald wants to gain a higher popularity level by spending his money. So there methods of getting what they want are different. In “Shrew” Petruchio’s struggle is dealing with Katherine. He tries to tame her so she may become a bearable wife. Baptista struggle is finding a suitor that will benefit his greedy needs, so finding Petruchio plans out perfectly for him. “Shrew” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” both use or is influenced by money. In contrast, both movie and book end differently as “Shrew” Katherine is just tamed  and the Love is not real since it was only for money. In the movie after Ronald’s experience of popularity he eventually gets the girl. This reflects that over time Love is more true and isn’t just a business transaction, but money shouldn’t be used to manipulate love, also it shouldn’t be the only reason someone is in a relationship.

"Then tell me," he asks Baptista, "if I get your daughter's love, What dowry shall I have with her to wife?"


(Act II, Scene i, line numbers 126-127)

  In this quote, Petruccio negotiates the terms of having Katherine with her father Baptista. This shows that he really isn’t interested in Katherine love, he’s worried about the “dowry” he may receive. Katherine’s repulsive vibes make Petruccio not want to Love but just to try to tame her.

In the movie,  Ronald Miller and Cindy Mancini negotiate the terms of their verbal contract to raise Ronald’s popularity status.
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Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 12.03.16 AM

In this scene from “Can’t Buy Me Love”, Ronald Miller and Cindy Mancini quickly negotiate the terms of the verbal contract. Ronald wants to spend a lot of time with Cindy which he thinks will increase his chances in being popular. Cindy agrees to the contract but barely as she tries to get as many “free days” as possible, which brings the comedic standpoint to the movie. Unlike in “Shrew” the negotiations were made for the women Katherine, instead of the women being apart of the negotiations in the movie. In both movie and play, there is no true love because money is manipulating their relationships.

"Be patient, gentlemen; I choose her for myself:

If she and I be pleased, what's that to you?

'Tis bargain'd 'twixt us twain, being alone,

That she shall still be curst in company.

I tell you, 'tis incredible to believe

How much she loves me: O, the kindest Kate! "


(Act II, Scene i, line numbers 321-326)

 This quote from the book shows that Petruchio and Katherine have no real love because their whole relationship and marriage was a negotiation, so Petruchio could always have money, which Katherine would know nothing about. Petruchio tells his “plan” that he made secretly with Katherine which wasn’t true, saying she would put on a facade in public but when they were alone she would be submissive.

 In the movie, Ronald starts their relationship off in a bad way by offering Cindy money. Cindy was unsure at first but took it needing it desperately. 

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Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 11.53.57 PM

Ronald had to make an important decision at this point of the movie. Would he use his money for the telescope he’s been saving up for or spend this money on renting the head cheerleader so he may become popular his senior year of high school. As he approaches Cindy he knows she can’t resist his offer since she needs the money. He’s using his money to manipulate her at her time of need. It relates In “Shrew” because Petruchio has a great offer just as Ronald does in the movie to become more wealthy. This business transaction is the start of their relationship, that clearly manipulates Cindy’s mind because she agrees, to the offer.

 The fact that at the end of the movie Ronald and Cindy fall in love show that society still wants to see the happy endings in movies. At the end of “Shrew”, Baptista and Petruchio both filled accomplished because of their wealthier status but Petruchio didn’t find true love along the way. At the end of “ Can’t Buy Me Love” Ronald has a sense of awakening knowing he can’t use money to manipulate relationships and to become popular but he still finds true love, as he gets to ride off in the sunset on his lawnmower with the girl.  


1. Rash, Steve. "Can't Buy Me Love." IMDb., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2013.

2. Shakespeare, William. Taming of the Shrew. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Raul Werstine.