Parental interference in the pursuit of love

Parental interference in the pursuit of love

Zaire Williams

Air Stream


Comparing “The Taming of the Shrew” to “Monster-in-Law”

In the play “The Taming of the Shrew” Baptista, the father of Katherine and Bianca has a limited control and different expectations over the two daughters romantic relationships. In the 2005 film “Monster-in-Law” Kevin meets the love of his life Charlotte, and makes the decision to ask if she could marry him after several months of dating. Viola, Kevin's mother have just lost her job and is feeling rather attached to Kevin. Charlotte starts to realize that Viola is not delighted by the idea of them getting married, so she would do anything whatsoever to stop the wedding.

Though Baptista and Viola share some similarities far as deeply loving their children and their own expectations for their romantic relationships, the way they handle the situation is much different. When it comes to Baptista, he is more demanding with his daughters, he has his reasons of why he wish for Katherine to be married before Bianca and would not change that for anyone. He’s not really forcing it to be that way, but it more like his daughters are respecting his wishes and are following that path. Moreover, Viola expresses how she feels about the situation other than being truthfully honest. Instead of telling Kevin she doesn’t want him to marry Charlotte because she’s afraid of losing him and he’s really the only family she has.Throughout the movie, Viola executes a variety of antics to make sure Charlotte doesn’t marry Kevin. These stories  reflect that parents still don’t show deference or personally understand  their children’s life when it comes to their love affair.

Baptista Minola. “Gentlemen, importune me no farther,

For how I firmly am resolv'd you know;

That is, not to bestow my youngest daughter

Before I have a husband for the elder.

If either of you both love Katherina,

Because I know you well and love you well,

Leave shall you have to court her at your pleasure.”

(Act 1, Scene 1, line 48)

In this quote Baptista is telling Lucentio and Tranio to stop begging him for permission to allowing Bianca to be married. He tells the two gentlemen, he is sticking to his word, Bianca is not to be in courtship until his oldest daughter Kate is married first.

Viola is somewhat in the same situation, but is much more complicated and stressful for her.

In this scene this is the first time Viola sees Kevin and meets Charlotte after getting fired from her career a couple months ago. She admindently develops a negative energy when seeing someone new in his life. As soon as Charlotte says yes to Kevin's proposal, Viola has thoughts of hurting charlotte. She states “Oh, Holy Spirit… surround me with light. Please rid me of my negative karma and my wickedness. Please help me be a better person. I could just kill that dog-walking slut!” The way she is handling the situation is tell the audience that she doesn’t want to even get to know Charlotte and Kevin is better off single. Compared to “The Taming of the Shrew” Viola has a lot in common with Baptista. They both have their own way of expressing their children romantic relationship. Baptista directly tells his daughters how he wishes for them to be married, while Viola does the opposite, claiming to save her son Kevin, for making the worst decision by marrying a woman she doesn't want him to marry. In order to do that, she goes through multiple task to try her best to end the relationship.


Signior Baptista, my business asketh haste,

And every day I cannot come to woo.

You knew my father well, and in him me,

Left solely heir to all his lands and goods,

Which I have bettered rather than decreased.

Then tell me, if I get your daughter’s love,

What dowry shall I have with her to wife?


After my death, the one half of my lands,

And, in possession, twenty thousand crowns.


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

Her widowhood, be it that she survive me,

In all my lands and leases whatsoever.

Let specialties be therefore drawn between us,

That covenants may be kept on either hand.


Ay, when the special thing is well obtained,That is, her love, for that is all in all.


Why, that is nothing. For I tell you, father,

I am as peremptory as she proud-minded;

And where two raging fires meet together,

They do consume the thing that feeds their fury.

Though little fire grows great with little wind,

Yet extreme gusts will blow out fire and all.

So I to her and so she yields to me,

For I am rough and woo not like a babe.

(Act 2, Scene 1, line 121)

Baptista has found a special someone name Petruchio, for his daughter Katherine to marry. Petruchio is only down for the offer that was provided for him by Baptista far as the money and land if he was to marry her. Baptista claims nothing is a problem to get for him only if he wins her love, that’s the most important for Baptista.

Viola is sticking with her plan and is trying to scare Charlette away with her crazy ways.

In this part of the movie, Charlotte falls for Viola scheme and has to watch over her after her fake anxiety attack. Viola plays character and starts to annoy Charlotte in ways she wouldn’t normally act. Before she went into action with her plan, she talked to Ruby and stated, “Everybody knows when a woman marries a man she marries his mother too, right? What if I drive her crazy?” As viewers can see, Viola plan is the opposite from Baptista plan in “The Taming Shrew.” Baptista wants to find his daughter Katherine a special one to marry and when does he’s dishonest about the reasons behind the one he chosen for her, while in “Monster-in-Law,” Viola is trying her best to separate the lovers from being married. This shows that parents would do anything, weather it’s  wrong or right, to have a part in the relationship.

In conclusion, in both the play and movie, they have showed us that parental interference towards courtship/dating, doesn't alway end with parents getting their way in the relationship. It all depends weather if someone is willing to take a stand for their relationship and do what it takes to manage them self. In the movie “Monster-in-Law,” when Charlotte discovered Viola scheme, she backfires and tells Viola, “this is my game now…” meaning she’s taking control and Viola now needs to back off from their life as a married couple. On the other hand, in “The Taming of the Shrew,” in Act 1, Scene 1 Katherine sorta takes a stand for herself and tells her father that he is humiliating her in public by basically calling her a whore. The reader can see that Katherine isn’t known for taking charge of things but rather brush the problem off and goes alone with what is already set for her. She is not like Charlotte in the movie and her best decision is to  go with the flow of things she know isn’t working out for her but for her father and one’s around her.

Work Cited

Monster-in-Law - May 13, 2005, Anya Kochoff

Taming of the Shrew- March 8, 1967, William Shakespear.

Comments (8)

Matthew Reed (Student 2019)
Matthew Reed

I read yours, and I really liked how different it was from everyone else's. Most people talked about the relationships between the couples, but you talked about the parent's relationship. Your analysis was extremely strong and it engaged me in the essay, which is sometimes hard to do.

Lauryn Lewis (Student 2019)
Lauryn Lewis

I see your essay and it has great quality. The movie Monster In Law really shares similar ideas with Shrew. While the mom was trying to destroy her son's relationship, Bianca's father was trying to push his children off to get married.

Lauren Matthews (Student 2019)
Lauren Matthews

Very detailed essay! It showed both perspectives of parents in similar situations. I understand how it also sorts out the differences of their reasoning on why parents are so involved with courtship.

Brendan Hall (Student 2019)
Brendan Hall

I thought that it was an original and smart choice to talk about how much control in laws have over a marriage. It tends to go under the radar but parents approval influence many marriages. This helped change my knowledge of romantic relationships because of the emphasis of having to fight for parental approval.

Julia Furman (Student 2019)
Julia Furman

I like how you compared how Baptista and Viola react to the marriage of their children. It was interesting to see Baptista's acceptance to Viola's outright rejection. I kind of want to see the movie you talked about, just to see how ridiculous things get.

Taylor Green (Student 2019)
Taylor Green

I like the movie you chose for your example! It was very easy to follow and the way that you compared Viola's negativity to Baptista's attitude really showed the parallels to the text and film.

Avraham Cantor (Student 2019)
Avraham Cantor

Great job Zaire! I really liked how you equated Viola to Katherine and how you tied those two characters into your broader theme of parental control over relationships.

Nzinga Suluki-Bey (Student 2019)
Nzinga Suluki-Bey

Good Job! I love this movie and I know where you are coming from. In reality, parents think they know whats best for their children, but they also don't understand them. I like how you wrote the essays on the parents that is a good angle.