Taming the Clueless Shrew
In the Shakespeare play “Taming of the Shrew,” the characters are striking. With plots and ulterior motives the book never gets old. In the book you constantly see themes of class in works. The class of the characters in the book, basically shape the characters plots and schemes that we read. The main characters I will be talking about will be petruchio and Katherine, at times surfacing other characters. I will be comparing the book to the movie “Clueless.” In this movie the main character Cher goes through great lengths to get her way, and even changes the people and the world around her as she sees it. She is apart of the the upper class and it is obvious in the movie, with her fancy cars and clothes. Cher is always at the top, because of the power she “thinks” she holds. She plays matchmaker in the movie with her teachers in order to get the grade she wants. Through this she tricks and plots on ways to get them together. She also plays fairy godmother, and when you think of the character of a fairy godmother, you think of someone who in a way bestows gifts or happiness to people. Later on in the movie, Cher and her friends accept the new girl in town only if she conforms to their looks and lifestyle. The new girl, Tai is the complete opposite of Cher and her friends, but somehow finds herself suffocated in their world. The theme of social class and power, shape the characters in the book in movie. The power they feel that they hold makes them think that have control over the people around them. Cher and Petruchio show similarities in their motives of getting what they want, no matter what.
“I come to wive it wealthily in padua; If wealthily, then happily in Padula.” (Act 1.Scene 2, 75-77)
In this quote, the men are basically talking about having wife. Obviously her wealth plays a big role in their look for one. They could have went courting for any woman they wanted. But, instead it seems as though they specifically was looking for a woman of stature and wealth. In the sentence following, they continue on with their conversation. “Why nothing comes amiss, so money comes withal.” Withal basically means to take into with further consideration. The woman he chooses to wed could be an old woman, an attractive woman, or a “puppet.” As long as she is wealthy. He is very blunt with what he says as well. Not caring about how anybody thinks. Through this you see his materialism and how arrogant he is. He is driven to get what he wants. At this point in the play, he knows nothing about Katherine and her sister. He has no care for the actual meaning of love, but he cares about status and riches. Through this marriage he is going to elevate the status he holds into something bigger and greater.
In these two screenshots, Cher is basically explaining the plot she has to change Tai’s appearance. Specifically in the second picture she is talking about the group of people that Tai is glancing over at. They are at lunch, and the “stoners” or “airheads” happen to be nice and catch her attention. There is even a boy, that is obvious in the movie that has a crush on her. To put it out there for those who have not seen the movie, Tai is new. Cher and her best friend are explaining that there are levels or a status that is in place at the high school. With them being at the top, she shouldn’t stoop down to the level of the guy who is below them. Further into this scene it was mentioned if she were to date him or hang out with the group to expand friends they wouldn’t dare talk to her. This is similar to the quote in “Taming of the Shrew” because, they are only wanting the wife of a higher social class. From the context of the scene and overall book, even if they were to find a woman they do actually love. Her status would be accounted for. Even if she weren’t as rich as katherine and her family, she’d need to have some sort of wealth. Going back to the gift of “popularity and stature,” Cher thinks of this as her giving back to people or that what she is doing is good. Mainly because that's all that she has. She puts her wealth, and popularity on so high of a platform because without that she would have nothing. I don’t know why Petruchio does want wealth so bad, but it has to be similar to the ideal of Cher, without wealth they'd feel like they were nothing and like they didn’t have nothing.
“Thus in plain terms: your father hath consented
(Act 1, Scene 2, line 280)
In this quote, Petruchio reveals his plot to Katherine. His plot to marry her, and basically that she has no say because of the dowry that was placed by her father. He then says after this, “Will you, nill you and marry you…” When I looked up “nill you…” it means “zero or nothing,” so it was his intent to break her down as he builds himself up. It was clear that at first Katherine was reluctant to doing so, but if she had no choice it was nothing she could really do. Especially if her father told Petruchio that he can marry her. Petruchio also wants to tame Kate, although he doesn’t have the status she holds, before the marriage he still wants that same kind of control. He calls her a “Wild kate.” and tells her he will in fact tame her, that he was born to do it. Even if she didn’t love him she has no choice but to deal with it because of how everything was set up.
Similar to the scenario in the book, Tai is faced with a difficult decision to make. From the conversations she has with Travis that they have chemistry and in fact are crushing on one another. Cher has already made the decision for her on who she wants her to date. Cher doesn’t want her hanging around the other crowds. Instead she pairs her up with a charismatic, rich stud named Elton. He is arrogant and stuck up and Tai doesn’t like him, but she stays. She goes on dates with him and puts up with his behavior all for the sake of being like Cher and being popular. At first when Tai appears on the screen, she is humble and shy. At this point in the movie she is the complete opposite. Cher is taming her own version of Kate, which is Tai. She is making her into something she is not. Just to do it really, there was no point in the movie where Tai said she wanted it. She really just wanted friends due to her being new at school.Although there is no dowry in place, the pairing up of the two are surely similar to the pair of petruchio and Kate.
"You are come to me in happy time, / . . . for I have some sport in hand / Wherein your cunning can assist me much"
(induction, scene 1, line 86)
In the beginning of the Induction, there is a man named christopher that is basically passed out drunk outside of a bar. A lord passes him and decides that he wants to plot and make a joke out of the situation. He has his servants take Christopher back to his home, so that when he wakes up they can pretend like he is a lord. They dress him up, and make him a banquet to eat. They go as far as dressing up one of their men as a woman, to pretend like he is his wife. Christopher is a beggar, but when presented with the ideal of him being a rich man he went with it. Im sure it was confusing but, deep down you’d have to somewhat know what you were and who you were. My guess is the thought of being someone else, someone with a higher class and riches coaxed him into being something he is not. With this being basically the beginning of the play, you can see that power is a central theme. Relating back to my thesis, these people that hold these high stature believe that they can do whatever they please. In this case, the lord basically kidnapping this man and making him his play thing. It was all entertainment.
Cher got a C in one of her classes. Which would have brought her average down greatly. So because she thought she could, and because she was so desperate she thought of a plan to get her grade up. In one of the scenes before this she says that there is a “babe drought” in the school, which did not include her and her friend Dione. Everyone else like her step brother didn’t think that it was a great idea to play with people’s emotions or dig her nose into other people’s business. She secretly wrote love letters pretending to be her teachers and even played the “he said, she said situation.” Which made them more friendly with one another. Before it was too late, she got her grade up and the rest of the class reaped the benefits. They got imes to sleep, no homework and much more. Cher basically plotted against the crushes and admirations of the teacher and used them for her own entertainment. This is similar to the Lord and his servants making a joke out of Christopher. If Cher wasn’t as big as she was in her high school and didn’t have the resources she wouldn't have been able to successfully get her grade up. She used her status as an advantage.