Visual Essay

The Costs in Modern Day Relationships

Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, is a book about a family at odds due to marriage. The play involves many characters and subplots with specific characters, but there is one subplot that is the forefront of the play. This is Bianca's suitors, Hortensio and Lucentio, as they fight over who will marry Bianca. In comparison, Wes Anderson's Rushmore has a similar plot to Taming of the Shrew. In Rushmore, the main character, Max Fisher, is in love with a teacher, Mrs.Cross. Max does everything possible to be with her but he does not know of his recent close friend, Mr.Blume, also taking a romantic interest in Mrs.Cross.

In both of these pieces there is a fight for the love of another. Max and Hortensio both desire to be with the girl of their dreams but there is another person in the way. Even though Max is more extreme with his wooing than Hortensio, they still both end up getting out-staged by the other man, or in this case Mr. Blume and Lucentio. Max tries to change himself in order to woo Mrs.Cross through extreme ways. Both Lucentio and Hortensio do the same by disguising themselves as teachers to get closer to Bianca, in order to woo the one they love. Audiences expect that the characters have to work hard to win the affection of someone they love. But, in modern day media, people expect to see the costs that go along with fight for the other person's love.

"Bianca: Call you this "gamut"? Tut, I like it not. Old fashions please me best. I am not so nice To [change] true rules for [odd] inventions. "

(Act 3, Scene 2, 82-84)

In the Taming of the Shrew, Bianca is getting taught a musical scale from Hortensio, who adds a secret message into it to woo Bianca into marrying him. Her response was that she was strongly not interested in him. She then left. Hortensio tried to woo Bianca but she denied his attempt. Hortensio was doing something extremely similar to Lucentio to describe his situation, but it did not work out in his favor as it did for Lucentio. Hortensio did not work very hard for Bianca's love, yet he demanded throughout the musical scale that she will be his.

A similar situation happened in Rushmore between Max Fisher and Mrs.Cross.

Image result for rushmore gif

In Rushmore, Max walked up to Mrs.Cross while she was grading papers in the library. He poured her a glass of lemonade and sat down across from her with some random school books. She then looked at him and said, “has it even crossed your mind that you are far too young for me. We don’t have a relationship Max.” Before this, Max restored the Latin language program at Rushmore due to Mrs.Cross’ love for it and then proceeded to try and build an aquarium for the many fish in her class room. Even though Max went through with all of these things for Mrs.Cross, he was still denied her love.

This was similar to how Hortensio tried to woo Bianca with his gamuet, but within the movie, Max wanted to be with Mrs. Cross, no matter what the cost. Max did not give up after this interaction with Mrs.Cross, nor did he when he found out Mr.Blume was romantically involved with her. This shows how now audiences want to see risks being taken in order to be with the person the character is pursuing. While in Taming of the Shrew Hortensio attepted once to be with Bianca and never tried again, in modern day pieces, giving up is not an option.

"Bianca: Now let me see if I can conster (interpret) it. Hic ibat Simois, I know you not; hic est [Sigeia] tellus, I trust you not; Hic [seterat] Priami, take heed he hear us not; regia, presume not; celsa senis, despair not. "

(Act 3, Scene 1, 44-47)

In the Taming of the Shrew, Lucentio preceeded to teach Bianca Latin while Hortensio tried to tune his instrument. As Lucentio talked, he snuck in a secret message stating who he really was and how he felt about her. She understood his message and created one of her own. She did not completely reject him, but she wanted to get to know him. After Lucentio’s one attempt of trying to be with Bianca, he was accepted by her even though he disguised himself as someone else in order to be near her. It shows how Bianca doesn’t care who he is but only cares that he is willing to be with her.

A similar romantic interaction happens in Rushmore between Mrs.Cross and Mr.Blume.

Image result for rushmore gif

In Rushmore, Mr.Blume takes an interest in Mrs.Cross. Over time, he stalks her and stops by her house in order to see her. He went to her house, knocked on the door, and waited for her to come out. He asked her if she wanted to go for a walk and she didn’t reject. This moment then sparked their romantic relationship. Through this moment they talked about their lives which connected them even further. They then kissed.

This was similar to the way Lucentio and Bianca’s first romantic encounter went. Lucentio wasn’t denied and they ended up getting married. After Mrs.Cross and Mr.Blume’s first romantic interaction went, they eventually kissed. But unlike Taming of the Shrew, Mr.Blume does not end up marrying or being with Mrs.Cross at all. She finds out Mr.Blume is married and dumps him, but he still tries to win her over. This shows how audiences like it when there is a loving relationship, but like to see the risks people are taking, such as Mr.Blume cheating on his wife in order to make himself happy, unlike Taming of the Shrew where a young man wanted to be with a pretty girl and it happened.

"Hortensio: But I have cause to pry into this pendant. Methinks he looks as though he were in love. Yet if thy thoughts, Bianca, be so humble To cast thy wand’ring eyes on every stale, Seize thee that list! If once I find thee ranging, Hortensio will be quit with thee by changing."

(Act 3, Scene 2, 90-95)

In the Taming of the Shrew, Hortensio was rejected and stated his last argument on why Bianca should pick him or even think about marrying him instead of Lucentio. This is the last we hear of Hortensio till it comes to Lucentio and Bianca’s wedding, which he is involved in. Lucentio and Hortensio never actually fight or try to hurt the other through this process of trying to be with Bianca. This shows how there was work to get to this position, but that Hortensio easily gave up since he knew he would never have the chance of being with her.

In Rushmore, Max is the king of revenge.

Image result for payback scene rushmore gif

In Rushmore, Max finds out about Mrs,Cross and Mr.Blume’s relationship. Max then feels the need to destroy Mr.Blume’s life in order for him to have a chance again. Max ruins Mr.Blume’s marriage and his relationship with Mrs.Cross by talking to Mr.Blume's wife about her husbands cheating. Mr.Blume then spirals out of control and runs over Max’s bike. This feud goes on for awhile till Max moves on and Mr.Blume becomes depressed.

Max and Blume’s interaction after Max finding out about Mrs.Cross is very different from Lucentio and Hortensio’s interaction. Hortensio lets Lucentio be, as a sort of silent surrender and praise of Lucentio winning. In Rushmore, Max and Blume have a full raged war over who can destroy the other, leading to both of them losing the girl.

Max moved on in the end of the movie and was happy with Margaret Yang, his new girlfriend, which further shows how people only want to see the costs and a happy end result, no matter who won. In the Taming of the Shrew, Hortensio did move on but was unsatisfied by his choice in who he married. He was upset and hated his wife. Through this it shows how in modern day pieces, the costs are the climax to keep the audience interested, while the end leaves them satisfied with a happy relationship as the outcome. This shows how audiences like to see the risks taken by the characters for someone they love.

Comments (4)

Ayala Silverman (Student 2019)
Ayala Silverman

You compare and contrast the movie with the play very thoroughly with a lot of detailed analysis. Your analysis showed me that sometimes someone's love for another can take them too far.

Miguel Rivera (Student 2019)
Miguel Rivera

I think that you have a unique point of view on the reason. I would never think about how viewers see love in this way. I really want to watch the movie now. I think you connect the book very well especially when you talked about the fight scene connected to Max trying to destroy Mr.Blume's life.