A Comparison Between Mr. Right and The Taming of the Shrew
In "The Taming of the Shrew," there is a strong straightforward male character named Petruchio. In "Mr. Right," there is a strong straightforward character named Francis. In the beginning, it may seem like they are very similar. They both have a clever sense of humor and they know how to entrance a woman. However, Petruchio began his relationship with lies and deceit. He courted Katherine with her under the impression that she had no choice but to be with him. In "Mr. Right," Francis took Martha out on a date and allowed her to enjoy herself and he always told her the truth. He's an inverted assassin. The difference in their tactics shows how the audience’s expectations about how a man should court a woman have changed.
“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 II, Scene I, Lines 193-202)
Towards the beginning of the play, when Petruchio first meets Katherine, the first thing he tells her is that he’s heard all the lovely tales about her. Almost everything he is saying is lies. The tales of Katherine are that she is a shrew and rude and unlovable. The beginning of their relationship is based off of lies which can be seen as an unsturdy foundation.
In Mr. Right, right after Martha and Francis meet, they go on their first date to get tacos and the go on a walk. As they walk through the park, Martha and Francis talk about Martha’s life. She realizes that she doesn’t know anything much about him. He names some of his hobbies such as buying vintage cars and traveling and then says, “And I kill people but not so much anymore.” Then, Francis spots a bullet flying towards Martha and himself. As the bullet is hurdling towards them, Francis wraps Martha in his arms and expertly dips her out of harm's way. She asks, “What was that?” to which he responds, “Oh, just some poopyhead trying to kill me.” In this scene he’s basically, straight up telling Martha that he actually kills people, however, she does not believe him. She doesn’t believe him because he inserts it into the conversation so comically.
“Be patient, gentlemen. I choose her for myself.
If she and I be pleased, what’s that to you?
‘Tis bargained ‘twixt us twain, being alone,
That she shall still be curst in company.
I tell you, ‘tis incredible to believe
How much she loves me. O, the kindest Kate!
She hung around my neck, and kiss on kiss
She vied so fast, protesting oath on oath,
That in a twink she won me to her love.
O, you are novices! ‘Tis a world to see
How tame, when men and women are alone,
A meacock wretch can make the curstest shrew.-
Give me thy hand, Kate. I will unto Venice
To buy apparel ‘gainst the wedding day.-
Provide the feast, father, and bid the guests.
I will be sure my Katherine will be fine.”
(Act II, Scene I, Lines 321-336)
Petruchio also lies to Baptista, Katherine’s father, later on in the play. He tells him that Katherine is in love with him even though this isn’t true. He tells Baptista that even though Katherine seems like she doesn’t like him, she is just being modest with her love. He says that when they are in private, she is all over him and she proclaims her love for him. Baptista believed this and allowed Petruchio to take Katherine’s hand in marriage. This is because back in these times, a father’s job was to make sure his daughters were married. Also, his main request was that Katherine was happy, which, according to Petruchio, she was.
On their second date, Martha and Francis go to a nice restaurant. As they are escorted to their table, Francis sees a man sitting at the bar who flashes his gun at him. Martha and Francis sit at their table and then he excuses himself to take care of the man with the gun in the parking lot. They fight and Francis kills the man. He then comes back inside and Martha comments on the time he’s been gone and he responds, “NO, SORRY. HAD TO KILL SOMEBODY IN THE PARKING LOT. SOME ASSHOLE.” Francis admitted to Martha that he just committed a murder less than 50 feet away from her.
It can be seen that Petruchio approached his situation with very different tactics than that of Francis. Petruchio, who was in a seemingly simpler situation where he had no real need to lie to Katherine, decided that dishonesty was the way to go. This is in comparison to Francis who was jokingly blunt with Martha, so much so that she didn’t believe him. At the end of “The Taming of the Shrew,” Petruchio and Katherine are the perfect couple of the times. They both tend to each others needs and despite the lies and disagreements when they first met, they now love each other and care about each other. Francis, who had been truthful from the start, had a more healthy relationship with Martha. This is in today’s times where lying is less socially acceptable however, Francis still chose the noble way and told the truth the whole time. In comparison to Petruchio who lied at the first chance he got because back then, lying was more socially acceptable, especially to women because their opinions didn't matter because they were seen as property. All in all by looking at “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Mr. Right,” it can be seen how courting has changed between now and then.
The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
Mr. Right by Max Landis