The Thew: Ted vs. The Taming Of The Shrew

A play read in school was called The Taming Of The Shrew by William Shakespeare. Key characters in the play are Petruchio, Hortensio, Katherine, and Bianca. A movie that was watched after is called Ted by Seth MacFarlane. Important roles in the movie are Ted, John, and Lori. In both plays the men and women have automatic expectations of what their partner should do for them, but Ted isn't just talking about romantic relationships.

“Say as he says, or we shall never go.”

Act 4, Scene 3, Line 13

The Taming Of The Shrew has two characters that get married, Katherine and Petruchio. Petruchio has wed Katherine against her will in order to get money that her father will give him. Both characters are stubborn and mean to anyone who tries to get close to them or is just in the way. Katherine hears of her sister Bianca's wedding and the newlyweds are supposed to attend the celebration. But Petruchio is still in the process of completing his secret plan at this point; break Katherine into the perfect obedient wife. 

To test her he say's that the moon is shining even though it is clearly the sun. Katherine then tries to argue that it is the sun but quickly stops as he threatens to not go to the wedding. Petruchio's servant Hortensio then whispers the quote above to Katherine so that they can attend the wedding. Petruchio expects Katherine to follow where ever he goes and agree with whatever he says. No matter how crazy or wrong it is.

Husbands aren't always the person demanding attention and respect all the time though. Sometimes it's the best friend or servant or even the wife that has expectations to be met.

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 2.28.50 PM
Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 2.28.50 PM

In Ted, John has a magical stuffed bear that has been his best friend sense childhood. They do everything and go everywhere together. John has always depended on Ted to fill him up with the friendship he never had as a child. In this part of the movie, Ted asks John to hang out with him later. John turns him down saying that he has an anniversary dinner with his girlfriend Lori. Hearing this, Ted acts upset and not thrilled one bit with the fact that John and Lori are having their 4 year anniversary. 

Ted expects John to be free whenever he needs something. His thinking is that if John really cares for him he'll come when called. It's not enough for Ted that John lets him live for free in his apartment with Lori and himself. The expectations have increased between them over the years. Just like the expectations Petruchio has for Katherine increases every time he breaks a piece of her spirit. Ted has been easing his expectations onto John sense childhood nurturing it in his head. While Petruchio is force-feeding his expectations onto Katherine daily with no remorse. Wether it's by a friend or a lover, expectations are being made everyday.

“First kiss me, Kate, and we will.”

“What, in the midst of the street?”

“What, art thou ashamed of me?”

“[No] sir, God forbid, but ashamed to kiss.”

“Why, then, let’s go home again. Come, sirrah, lets away.”

“Nay, I will give thee a kiss. Now pray thee, love, stay.”

Act 5, Scene 2, Lines 147-154

After Bianca and Lucentio wed in The Taming Of The Shrew they throw a dinner for everyone to attend and dine together. Katherine walks with Petruchio at her side as people enter the large hall. Wanting to prove his ownership once more, Petruchio stops and tells Katherine to kiss him before entering. He gives her the options to stay at the party and kiss him or refuse and go back home.

Katherine wants to go inside the hall and see her family. To see the father who wed her to this maniac and to see her sister who has gotten her true love. At the same time Katherine doesn't want to kiss Petruchio, especially not in front of a crowd of people. Her family expects her to show up to the party while her husband Petruchio expects her to kiss him or go home. To satisfy both sides she puts her feelings aside and kisses Petruchio quickly to get it over with. 

Katherine found a way to make everyone content for the occasion at hand. Both sides want their high expectations met by Katherine no matter the feelings she has. This happens all the time between families, friends, and lovers in life.

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 2.42.02 PM
Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 2.42.02 PM

John is faced with a similar problem as Katherine in this part of Ted, the movie. His girlfriend Lori is ready for marriage and to have a better life with John.  She is tired of John letting Ted dictate his life and get between them. While Ted wants to stay at Johns side forever as best friends. Ted and John have already been friends for more than 20 years. Ted wants the relationship to be everlasting while Lori wishes for John to choose her and let Ted go forever.

To compromise and try to gain peace, John makes a decision. He decides to make Ted get his own apartment and job so that Lori can have the place just for herself and John. Now to make Ted not seem alone and left out John also decides to visit him keeping contact. John loves Lori more than anyone else he's known romantically. At the same time Ted is the best and only close friend that John has had all his life. Both of them are important to John and now they are making him choose against his feelings of having happily living together.

In the times of The Taming Of The Shrew women often had no rights or say in who they married. Women also had no voice in their marriages. All they were supposed to do was follow their husbands commands. Ted brings the same points but in a modern sense. Yes people have more of a say in who they marry. But now there's no guarantees like back in the day. 

Once a woman married, she and her husband were actually bonded until death died them part. Now a days women and men divorce, separate, and then elope at least once after the first marriage. A man and woman had to be married before they could become intimate in the Shrew. While in Ted there are prostitutes, drunken sex at parties, and sex between mates that have not yet tied the knot. 

Society has let dating and courtship become less organized and traditional. Less people are getting blessings from parents before marriage while parents are letting their children have a say in who they bring home for the blessing. Even as time progresses towards the future, society will always have people coming up with expectations for their mates to live up to.


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

Ted. Dir. Seth MacFarlane. Screenplay by Alex Sulkin and Wellesley Wild. Perf. Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and Seth MacFarlane. Universal Studios Home Entertainment, 2012. Online Viewing.