The American Changing Shrew

          The classic but controversial William Shakespeare play, “The Taming Of The Shrew” is one that audiences still disagree about . As scholars continue to attempt to understand what Shakespeare was trying to prove by creating a play in which, a once outspoken woman  becomes in full subjection to her husband. Claiming even he is her God.

          Though this is not one of those scholastic papers breaking down this play line for line, this essay will analyze the connections between “The Taming Of The Shrew” and the modern day theatrical film “American Wedding”. There are some themes that rise throughout the plot of the movie that connect characters between the two. One of which is that of supporting character in the movie Steve Stifler to the main character in the play Petruchio. Steve Stifler is like Petruchio in the sense that both are manipulative and change themselves to get what they want. In this case what they want is a woman. As shown in this play and movie, people change who they are to create love where there otherwise would not be any, and when this change is made it is often not genuine.

"Quote from Play"

“You wrong me, Signior Gremio. Give me leave.—

I am a gentleman of Verona, sir,

That hearing of her beauty and her wit,

Her affability and bashful modesty,

Her wondrous qualities and mild behavior,

Am bold to show myself a forward guest

Within your house, to make mine eye the witness

Of that report which I so oft have heard.”

Act 2, Scene 1, lines 49- 58

(Act x, Scene x, line numbers)

At this point in the play, Signior Petruchio is telling Signior Gremio how he plans to woo and charm Katherine, no matter what her personality may be. He says that he is such a gentleman he will overcome her personality. This shows that he feels he needs to be overbearing and very gentle with Katherine for her to fall in love with him. It is learned later in the book that is not truly his character.

Petruchio’s counter piece in the movie “American Wedding”, Steve Stifler, is in a similar but slightly different situation as Petruchio. Stifler meets a woman like Petruchio and supposedly falls for her upon first sight, and then exactly like Petruchio he changes his personality to come off as appealing to what the woman and the woman’s family and friends would like.


At this point in the movie, Stifler, a character known throughout the film for his noisy outbursts, annoyance and lack of respect for others, is about to meet the woman he would later claim to love. Candice, though, as he notices through eavesdropping wants a good man to fall in love with. So Stifler changes himself momentarily to show Candice’s parents first that he is a good guy. This, like what Petruchio did in the play, shows Stifler changing himself to give off an appeal of charm because he believes that is the only way Candice will love him. But it is seen that throughout the film that is not his true character.

"Quote from Play"

You lie, in faith, for you are called plain Kate,

And bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst,

But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom,

Kate of Kate Hall, my super-dainty Kate—

For dainties are all Kates—and therefore, Kate,

Take this of me, Kate of my consolation:

Hearing thy mildness praised in every town,

Thy virtues spoke of, and thy beauty sounded—

Yet not so deeply as to thee belongs—

Myself am moved to woo thee for my wife.

(Act x, Scene x, line numbers)

act 2 scene 1, lines 179- 188

Here in the play Petruchio finally meets Katherine for the first time. As recalled earlier in the play he tells Gremio that his charm will make Kate fall in love with him. His tactic to show this charm is to shower her with overbearing compliments of her beauty and character. Later in the book his character is shown as arrogant and rude whereas in this scene in the play he comes off as charming and extremely kind. As shown here Petruchio changes who he is in the hopes of getting Katherine to like him right away, but this change was not genuine because later in the play he decided to show her his true colors.

Steve finds himself in a similar predicament when he first attempts to show candice individually that he is a great guy for her. Earlier in the film it shows Steve overhearing Candice and her sister in the bathroom talking about the perfect guy for her. Coincidentally Steve tries to replicate and become everything she says when he meets her.


Steve much like Petruchio finds himself in front of Candice trying to make the best possible first impression he can make. He comes off as sweet and endearing to her and in her mind he is her perfect man. Towards the end of the film there is a scene where Steve is shown acting out of character and she realizes he is nothing like who she thought he was. Steve decided to use the same tactic as Petruchio and change himself to get the girl, but like Petruchio the girl realizes he is not who he claims to be in the end which is why the change is not genuine.

In the end it is shown throughout both situations that the male feels as though he has to be the perfect guy for the girl in order to be in a relationship with her. Petruchio changes to be sweet and endearing and so does Steve. Both changes though are not genuine, and it therefore causes complications in the relationship. Society’s views on relationships shows this ideal in full, Steve’s modern day situation with Candice shows the model for relationships everywhere. The woman wants the perfect guy and so people change who they are to create love where there otherwise would not be any, and when this change is made it is often not genuine.

Worked Cited:

"The Taming of the Shrew." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <>.

"American Wedding." IMDb., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <>.