The Force of Love

The Force of Love
Comparing "Taming of the Shrew" to "The Proposal"

The idea of deception in marriage has been around for centuries, as seen in the play “Taming of the Shrew” written in the 1500’s. Petruchio, one of the main characters in the play, marries Katherine purely based upon his personal gain. The movie “The Proposal” made in 2005, portrays a very similar story line through the character of Margaret.

Although Petruchio and Margaret’s motives for marriage are similarly selfish, the outcome of the deception is very different. Petruchio is blinded by the idea of wealth and power. Margaret is blinded by the commitment to her job. Petruchio continues this greediness throughout his life causing an unsuccessful marriage altogether. However, Margaret ends up falling in love which was never the plan and the couple lives happily ever after. The play and the movie reflect that having a successful marriage can only be possible with equal love from both sides. A successful marriage cannot be forced.

"Thou know’st not of gold’s effect. Tell me her father’s name, and ‘tis enough; For I will board her, though she chide as loud as thunder when the clouds in autumn crack."

(Act 1, Scene 2, lines 94-97)

In “Shrew”, Petruchio believes money will make him happy. In this quote, Petruchio says he will marry Katherine despite her renowned temper because the wealth is worth anything. Petruchio doesn’t care about love in a relationship, as long as he has the money he will be happy.  

Much like Petruchio, Margaret decides to get married for the personal benefits. However, instead of for wealth she is marrying in fear of getting deported.

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Visual Essay ss

In this screenshot, Margaret has just been told her bosses that she is in danger of being deported back to Canada, where she will not be able to pursue her career as a successful book editor. To avoid being deported she tells her bosses she is getting married to Andrew, her assistant. Andrew had no say in the decision and was taken much by surprise, which can be seen by the astonishment on his face after hearing the news. Margaret’s reasons for marriage are extremely similar to Petruchio’s because both lack love in the relationship and are only in it for the personal benefits.

“I am ashamed that women are so simple to offer war where they should kneel for peace.”

(Act 5, Scene 2, lines 177-178)

This quote suggests that Katherine surrenders herself to the marriage. All throughout the play Katherine was a woman who stood her ground. The fact that she is giving into Petruchio’s fake marriage implies this tough-girl attitude may have only been a facade; deep down she was only looking for someone to love her. Katherine felt like this marriage was the closest thing to love she would ever get, therefore submitting herself to Petruchio. This marriage never became successful because of the force Petruchio put on Katherine to agree with him and change her ways.

Margaret also surrenders but instead of staying in the fake relationship, she gets out of it, resulting in a completely different outcome than that of “Shrew”.

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Visual Essay SS

Margaret leaves Andrew at the altar, when she realizes her feelings for him are growing. The feelings of love start to form guilt and Margaret recognizes the faults in this forced marriage. At this point Andrew too, has generated feelings towards Margaret and realizes he cannot live without her. This is the scene where Andrew finally reaches Margaret again and asks her to marry him, “for real this time”. Unlike Petruchio and Katherine’s marriage, Andrew and Margaret create an honest and romantic relationship. The forced relationship was obviously unsuccessful but as soon as both characters shared feelings for each other the relationship became real as well.

The difference in the outcomes of the play and the movie only prove that love is essential to marriage. Happiness can only be achieved when the love is shared equally between two people. The idea of forced marriage caused by greed and selfishness has been apparent through the centuries but the idea of love being essential has certainly changed over the years. “Shrew” implies men are the powerful ones and women just follow their lead. Katherine continues to commit to a relationship that exhibits no love from either side. In “The Proposal” love is what brought the couple together again. After breaking off the fake wedding, Margaret and Andrew realized their genuine love for each other resulting in a real relationship after all.

Works Cited:

Shakespeare, William, and Thomas Goddard Bergin. The Taming of the Shrew;. New Haven: Yale UP, 1954. Print.

The Proposal. Dir. Anne Fletcher. Perf. Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Touchstone, 2009. Online Video.