Success in Relationships: A Walk to Submission

Success in Relationships: A Walk to Submission

Comparing “The Taming of the Shrew” to “A Walk to Remember”  

“The Taming of the Shrew” higlights a theme that is still present in relationships today. In the play, Petruchio “tames” his wife Katherine and convinces her and the world that she is better off for it. This same idea is showcased in the more modern love story in “A Walk to Remember”. In this movie, Landon Carter is the stereotypical bad boy who falls for Jamie Sullivan after being forced to do community service as a result of one of his many offences. Their interaction impacts both of their personalities and outlook on life.

Although the male does not have all the power in their relationship, like in “Shrew”, in this movie the control is still important even though it is more two sided. Petruchio is not embodied by just Landon or Jamie for the entire movie. Rather, both Landon and Jamie have the opportunity to have control and manipulate each other during the movie. As a result, both of them have to take on the figurative role of Katherine, the submissive partner, in the relationship.These works reflect that even if it’s for short periods of time, audiences still believe that the success of a relationship requires the submission of one party.

“... Let him that moved you hither remove you hence. I knew you st the first you were a movable”

(2, 1, 203-206)

This quote is from the first time Petruchio and Katherine meet. Katherine is still ruthless and doesn’t care too much for Petruchio. Before he has the chance to tame her, she is painted in a negative light. This shows the reader that the submission of a partner is necessary and anticipated. Because Katherine has not submitted to Petruchio, the relationship does not exist.

Similarly, the individuality of Landon and Jamie prevents their relationship from beginning.  

This scene begins with Jamie attempting to start small talk to Landon. He then proceeds to shut her down and tell her about herself. She warns him to not presume to know her and lets him know that she doesn’t care what people think of her. This is identical to Katherine's initial attitude. The women in both the book and the movie make it clear that they are their own people and do not worry themselves with the opinion of others. What’s different is that in “A Walk to Remember”, this is viewed as independence while in “Shrew, it is seen as insolence. Regardless, this rashness is what is stopping the women from their pending relationships.

"When you are gentle, you shall have one too, and not until then”

(Act 4, Scene 3, 75-76)

In the scene, Petruchio is continuing his mission to tame Katherine. He does this by mocking her with material things that he has no intention of giving her. He says the quote to her to show that she can get what she wants from him when she behaves herself. This act involves the submission of Katherine. If she does not submit and act accordingly, she won’t receive the things that she wants to wear.

A similar bargaining and mocking technique can be seen in “A Walk to Remember” .

In this scene, Landon attempts to win Jamie’s heart after denying her in front of his friends. After that event, Jamie concluded that “there was no good in him.” Landon wants forgiveness and approaches Jamie only to be shut down by her demand to “prove it.” In this scene the figurative roles of Petruchio and Katherine have switched. Jamie is the person in control. In the same way Petruchio does to Katherine, she demands that Landon prove himself to her. Consequently, Landon has to act in a way that is pleasing to her in order to get want he wants, her friendship. What’s different is that Landon was placed in this position because he intentionally took on the role of Petruchio when he denied her because he was embarrassed of her. He would prefer Jamie act in a different way but she doesn’t give in. This causes him to realize that he needs to change to get her back. If he didn’t submit and apologize, their relationship would have ended. This supports the idea that the progression of a relationship relies on the submission of someone in the duo.

"I am so ashamed that women are so simple to offer war where they should kneel for peace, or to seek rule, supremacy, and sway when they are bound to serve, love, and...",

(Act 5, Scene 2, 177-180).

In this scene, after showcasing her obedience to Petruchio, Katherine scolds her sister Bianca, and the widow for not being better wives. Her entire speech sounds like words that Petruchio got her to believe. Katherine tells that she is a better person because of Petruchio and invites the other women to change for the better as well. This quote is important because it shows Katherine’s complete submission. She has been tamed and believes that she’s better off because of it. Without this submission, Katherine could not have the relationship she has now and couldn’t be able to reprimand the “bad” wives.

Similarly, in “A Walk to Remember”, Landon owes his transformation to Jamie.

In this scene that concludes the movie, Landon tells the audience of the result of his relationship with Jamie. He, like Katherine, praises Jamie for “saving his life”. His relationship with Jamie made him a better person. The fact that she challenges him to act in a better way is very comparable to Petruchio taming Katherine. The difference here is that Landon has changed, not by becoming obedient, but by being a more kind and gracious person. Landon would not have become and better person if he hadn’t submitted and changed for Jamie.

In the same way “Shrew” does, “A Walk to Remember” romanticizes the total submission and transformation of someone in a relationship. In “Shrew”, Katherine becomes totally obedient to Petruchio while in “A Walk to Remember” Landon becomes more kind and gracious. Today, the values Landon gained are seen as positive while during the times of “Shrew” being obedient may have been seen as positive. If “Shrew” was made today, the total submission into obedience would be frowned upon. If “A Walk to Remember” was made then, the values of kindness would mean nothing. In “Shrew”, Bianca is the kind and gracious maiden  but in the end she is not the best wife because obedience reigns supreme. This shows the audience that not only is submission in a relationship is crucial, but also that the qualities gained from this submission reflects the values of the society. Regardless, submission is painted as a necessity because it keeps the relationship going and changes people.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. The Taming of The Shrew. New Folger ed., Washington

Square Press, 1992.

Shankman, Adam, director. A Walk to Remember. Warner Bros., 2002.

Comments (1)

Lauren Brown (Student 2019)
Lauren Brown

Your thesis is BOMB! Loved it so much. As someone who has never seen this movie, I think you did a really good job of explaining without simply listing events, and I clearly understand why you compared the two. Your project made me think about all of the controversy there is surrounding 'change' when it comes to love. Why is it that it always indeed seems like for a relationship to work that someone has to change, or like you said, submit?