When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going

Comparing “Taming of the Shrew” to “She’s All That”

Both the book, “The Taming of the Shrew”, and the movie, “She’s All That”, prove that men have always looked at women as something to possess and that they feel as though manipulation is an appropriate way to to go about possessing a woman.

In the Shrew, Petruchio wants to possess Katherine for her money, but needs to manipulate her to be the type of girl he can deal with and marry. In She’s All That, Zack wants to possess Laney to win a bet, but also needs to manipulate her to be the type of girl he could deal with and make prom queen. Both men are manipulating these women, but in the Shrew the manipulation is more blatant and Katherine is well aware of what is going on. Whereas in She’s All That, Zack is much more sneaky about manipulating Laney, and even though she had some early suspicions, she isn’t really aware of what is happening. Men have always seen women as an object to possess and manipulate. And with women gaining more rights in society, men have only become better over the years at hiding this manipulation, instead of changing their mindset.

“One rich enough to be Petruchio's wife

(As wealth is burden of my wooing dance),

Be she as foul as was Florentius’ love,

As old as Sibyl, and as curst and shrewd

As Socrates’ Xanthippe or a worse, …

I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;

If wealthily, the happily in Padua.”

(Act 1, Scene 2, Line 67)

In this quote Petruchio talks about how the only thing that matters to him in a woman is how much money she has. Basically, no matter how bad she is, he will deal with her and marry he as long as she’s rich. He speaks about women as though if he makes the decision to go forth and put up with them, then the will be married. He doesn’t speak about whether or not the woman will want to marry him nor does he mention her say whatsoever. If she is rich enough for him to want to possess the woman, then they will be married no matter what.

Zack then finds himself in an extremely similar situation even though he has to have a little bit of help from his friends to come to his epiphany.



In this scene Zack is sulking over the fresh break up with his ex girlfriend as he watches her all over another boy. His friends then remind him of his status at school, top of the class, best jock, etc. Zack and his friends then talk about how he will get over his ex quickly since he can have any girl in the school that he wants considering his status. Zack also speaks about the girls in his school, as Petruchio did, as if they are just something he can possess if he so wants to.

“And woo her with some spirit when she comes!

Say that she rail, why then I’ll tell her plain

She sings as sweetly as a nightingale.

Say that she frown, I’ll say she looks as clear

If she do bid me pack, I’ll give her thanks …

If she deny to wed, I’ll crave the day

When I shall ask the banns, and when be married.”

(Act 2, Scene 1, Line 177)

Petruchio is now going over his plan as to how he plans to manipulate Katherine into being his wife. He speaks of the plan proudly as if he is doing nothing wrong, considering back then he wasn’t since women didn’t have much of a say anyway. This portrays Katherine having no choice and that Petruchio can easily get what he wants.

Zack is then found in almost the exact scenario, only for a different reason.


In this scene, Zack is making a bet with his friends about his plan to manipulate any girl at the school. Different from Petruchio, Zack plans to manipulate a woman to become the perfect prom queen, not the perfect wife. The fact that his friends don’t think it will be so easy for him to do this shows that times have changed and that women do have more of a say and that they may not be so easy to just possess.

“I am ashamed that women are so simple

To offer war where they should kneel for peace,

Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway

When they are bound to serve, love, and obey.”

(Act 5, Scene 2, Line 219)

This over the top speech shows that Katherine is just doing what Petruchio says in order to survive, she doesn’t actually believe what she is saying based on how fast and drastically this being truthful would have made her personality change. Katherine is now very aware of the manipulation taking place by Petruchio considering he didn’t do much to hide it. Women didn’t have much say back then, portraying why Katherine has pretty much accepted the fact that she is being manipulated to become his wife.

Lindy has found herself in the same position as Katherine, but handles it very differently.


In this scene, Lindy has found herself also aware of the manipulation after she is humiliated at a party in which Zack made her go to. Unlike Katherine, Lindy was completely unaware of the manipulation considering how sneaky Zack had to be to make it work. It did start to work, she changed her entire appearance for him and attended a party with the high school kids she hated, but as soon as her earlier suspicions turned out to be true, she objected it all. She does not at all accept Zack’s conditions for her to change in order to be his prom queen.

The fact that Zack almost loses the bet and Laney altogether once she figures out how she is being manipulated shows that women gaining rights in the world has made it more difficult for men to manipulate and possess women considering Petruchio couldn’t lose Katherine since she had no choice. But, Zack does win Laney in the end, after trying a little harder of course, which proves that the idea that movies, novels, etc. still like to play around with the idea that men can manipulate women in order to possess them and have them fall hopelessly in love.