The Taming of the Cher
An analysis of Taming of the Shrew and Moonstruck
In The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio subtly manipulates Katherine throughout the text from despising him to being in love with him. He does this so that he can inherit her father’s property when he dies. In the movie Moonstruck, Nicolas Cage’s character, Ronny, does the same thing to Cher’s character, Loretta, in order to get revenge on his brother, Johnny, who is her fiancée. Petruchio and Ronny both have ulterior motives for going after their respective female love interests. These similarities show that relationships between couples often involve manipulation and gain for one person and not the other. Although these stories might appear like typical romances on the surface, they actually show men using women for their own purposes, no matter what era they take place in.
“Petruchio: Then tell me, if I get your daughter’s love, what dowry shall I have with her to wife?; Baptista: After my death, the one half of my lands, and, in possession, twenty thousand crowns.”
(Act 2, Scene 1, lines 126-129)
This conversation between Petruchio and Baptista, Kate’s father, displays the motive that Petruchio has for wanting to marry her. Baptista tells Petruchio that when he dies, Petruchio will inherit half of his land, as well as 20,000 crowns when they are first married. 20,000 crowns is worth around $9,000 today.
When Ronnie and Loretta first meet, Ronnie explains to her that there is bad blood between him and his brother, Johnny, her fiancée. He believes that he was responsible for the loss of his hand. This establishes a reason that Ronnie might want revenge against his brother, and one way to accomplish that would be to steal his fiancée.
“Katherine: Forward, I pray, since we have come so far, and it be moon, or sun, or what you please. And if you please to call it a rush candle, henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.; Petruchio: I say it is the moon.; K: I know it is the moon.; P: Nay, then you lie, it is the blessed sun.; K: Then God be blessed, it is the blessed sun.”
(Act 4, Scene 5, lines 14-21)
In this scene, Petruchio tries to convince Katherine that the light in the sky is from the moon, and not the sun. When she finally agrees with him, he reverses his position and says that the light is from the sun, not the moon, and she agrees with him. By doing this, Petruchio is forcing Kate to agree with him because she knows he won’t stop until she agrees.
In the first scene in Ronnie’s apartment, Ronnie and Loretta are arguing about whether or not he should be mad at his brother. Then during the argument Ronnie flips the table and kisses her. Loretta is hesitant and pulls back, but then decides to accept the kiss. After this, Ronnie picks her up and says “I’m taking you to the bed.” It’s important to note that in this scene, all of the romantic actions are initiated by Ronnie and are not expected by Loretta. In this way Ronnie is, in a sense, forcing Loretta to participate. This is similar to the previous scene in Taming of the Shrew because Petruchio forces Kate to agree with him by getting her into a state where she can only say yes.
In conclusion, the plots of Taming of the Shrew and Moonstruck are similar because both involve the male main character manipulating a female love interest into falling in love with them so that they can achieve personal gain. Even though this is not as prominent in Moonstruck as in Taming of the Shrew, it is still evident if you analyze the behavior of Ronnie, who is the equivalent of Petruchio. Petruchio manipulates Kate by subtly forcing her to agree with him on trivial things so that she will start agreeing with him on larger things, and Ronnie manipulates Loretta by making her participate in romantic acts with him and getting her used to the idea.
Shakespeare, William, Barbara A. Mowat, and Paul Werstine. The Taming of the Shrew. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014. Print.
Moonstruck. Dir. Norman Jewison. Perf. Nicolas Cage and Cher. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1987. DVD.