Comparing “Notting Hill” to “The Taming of the Shrew”
The popularity of romantic comedies throughout time comes from the hope they offer women that love will find them and bring them the ultimate fulfillment in life - marriage, transforming them from angry, bitter “shrews” into fairytale, picture-perfect wives who live happily ever after with their handsome “prince.”
Girl meets boy. Girl behaves badly. Boy forgives her, woos her with kindness and acceptance. Romance blossoms. Sun sets on the beaming couple at their wedding.
In Shakespeare's romantic comedy, “The Taming of the Shrew,”a wealthy merchant in Padua named Baptista completely controls the fate of his two daughters. He has declared that the younger, gentle, and innocent Bianca, cannot marry before her older sister, Katherine, whose stubborn spirit and “foul temper” have given her the reputation of being a “shrew.” As many suitors as Bianca has, Katherine has none until the arrival of Petruchio, who considers himself “up to the challenge” of “taming the shrew” and turning her hostility around with a plan to “kill a wife with kindness.” In the end, despite the fact that he has deprived her of sleep and starved her to get his way, Katherine surrenders publicly and becomes the docile wife she is expected to be, giving up her own sense of independence and free will for the love of a man and a “happy” marriage.
Similarly, Anna Scott in the movie, “Notting Hill”, is a famous but hot-headed Hollywood actress who seemingly has everything- wealth, fans, and fame. She lives a luxurious, jet-setting life of privilege that she has created for herself, by herself. Enter a chance encounter with the floppy haired, shy, and clumsy William Thacker, a mild-mannered travel bookshop owner, down on his luck romantically and financially. First she kisses him then pushes him away, not once, but twice. But in the end, love conquers both her spirit and her heart and finds them happily married and expecting a child.
But, what if it’s all a lie?
What if, underneath the light-hearted, theatrical vision of love, lays a darker, shocking subliminal message - love is not real! Romance does not exist! Both were created by society as propaganda to ensure the submission and sublimation of women to men. As women gained more and more independence and self-reliance, they could no longer be forced into marriage, the one role that society historically has wanted (and needed) them to have. A woman’s place was behind and beside a man, at a man’s will and under his rule. Societal standards deemed women as nothing more than property to be controlled and used to provide heirs and alliances for their fathers and husbands. But once women wised up to the idea that they didn’t have to let men make decisions about their lives and their futures, what could society do to bring them back to their obedient obligations? And so the concepts of love and romance were developed theatrically as a form of propaganda to help entice women subconsciously back, seemingly of their own accord, to fulfilling their society duty of becoming wives and mothers.
Petruchio: Come, come, you wasp, i’faith you are too angry.
Katherine: If I be waspish, best beware my sting.
Petruchio: My remedy is then to pluck it out.
Katherine: Ay, if the fool could find where it lies.
Petruchio: Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting? In his tail.
Katherine: In his tongue.
Petruchio: Whose tongue?
Katherine: Yours, if you talk of tales, and so farewell.
Petruchio: What, with my tongue in your tail?
(Act 2, Scene 1, 207–214)
When Katherine and Petruchio first meet, this conversation between them should have been a showcase for Katherine’s intelligence because it’s clear that she could not only respond to Petruchio’s taunts, but equally match him with her quick and “sharp” wit. But in order to promote the propaganda of a woman’s need to be subservient, audiences of the time instead were given a comparison of Katherine to a nasty wasp, because a woman, after all, was nothing but an animal that had to be yoked. Even Petruchio was used to turn their clever back-and-forth banter into something sexual, undermining and bringing down an intelligent woman by turning her into a sexual creature who needed him.
Anna Scott, fresh off of a successful publicity tour for her last blockbuster hit and in London working on her next film project (a Henry James novel adaptation because William Thacker had mentioned it earlier), having “behaved badly” and pushed him away months before, now comes back to tell him that all of her fame, all of her achievements, which she’s done on her own, mean nothing without him. She stands in front of him begging for his love, not as a woman of independence and means, but as a “girl” who just wants him to love her, who needs his love if she is ever going to be happy. Romantic love at its propaganda best - a self-sufficient, successful woman who has everything and should feel complete, willing to give it all up for a man, because without a man’s love, she is incomplete.
“Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign, one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintence commits his body
To painful labor both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst though liest warm at home, secure and safe,
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks, and true obedience-
Too little payment for so great a debt.”
(Act 5, Scene 2, 162-180)
In this last scene in the play, Katherine has been “tamed” in a very public display to ensure that not only the people of Padua, but the audience sees her revert into an obedient and compliant wife with no further need for a spirited, independent streak because she now understands that her husband is there to rule and she is there to obey. Society’s propaganda used this play as an opportunity to show love from a woman isn't even sufficient “payment” for all that man does for her, making sure that everyone understands that a woman would never be able to survive and succeed on her own.
Similarly, in “Notting Hill”’s closing scene, the famous Anna Scott is seen gentling cradling her pregnant belly while blissfully laying her head on her husband's lap, utterly content away from the cameras and fans, no longer needing success or fame to define her because she is now married and in love.
In both the play and the movie, instead of characterizing a woman of independent thought and deed as someone to be admired and respected for their self-confident intelligence, society’s propaganda vilifies them as “foul-tempered shrews” who would only find happiness once they had found a man to love and marry them. With women who did not need a man in their life, there had to be a way for society to get them to want a man in their life. If force was not an option in a society that had no intention of letting women rise beyond their subservient station, then an alternative had to be found. Romantic love was created for independent-thinking women to subconsciously “force” them to believe that their lives would never be complete, no matter how independent they were, without a husband (and the subsequent happily-ever-after).
Comparing "Taming of the Shrew" to "Deliver us from Eva"
In Taming of the Shrew we are introduced to Katherine; a shrew or a ill tempered woman that needs to be tamed or managed by the character Petruchio. She puts up a fight but eventually gives in. In the 2003 movie “ Deliver us from Eva” Eva is the oldest sister of the Dandridge sister. All sisters except Eva are in relationships and Eva always meddles in their love lives. The Sisters partners are tired of having Eva always in their business so they set her up with the local playboy in order to get Eva out of the way so they can have better relationships with the other sisters. They pay so he can make Eva fall for him and move away then dump her in some far away place so she can be out of their lives. She falls for him and they end up together. Both "Taming of the Shrew" and "Deliver us from Eva" show that a relationship can only work if the one person can have complete dominance over the other.
Now, by my mother's son, and that's myself,
It shall be moon, or star, or what I list,
Or ere I journey to your father's house.
Go on, and fetch our horses back again.
Evermore cross'd and cross'd; nothing but cross'd!
Say as he says, or we shall never go.
Forward, I pray, since we have come so far,
And be it moon, or sun, or what you please:
An if you please to call it a rush-candle,
Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.
(Page 187, Act 4, Scene 5, line 15)
In this part of the book Katherine, Petruchio and Hortensio; Petruchio servant are on there way to Katherine's sister wedding. Petruchio says that the moon is out and Katherine says that the sun is out and Petruchio gives her an ultimatum and she submits and goes along with what he says. The sun is actually out This scene in the book shows how Petruchio has control over Katherine and that's how he was able to get her to summit so that not only he can get his way, but so they can get to their destination. It takes having complete dominance over someone to have the kind of power that Petruchio does; to get his wife to submit and give in so quick. They both were able to get what they wanted just by her giving in.
Ray plays mind game with Eva Just like Petruchio but it was more to get her attention and make her want him then to get her to be completely submissive.
Ray tells Eva that he has a girlfriend,when in fact he doesn’t have a girlfriend hes just wants her to want him even more. It ends up working because after this she is all he thinks about and the next time they see each other, he asks her on a date and she ask about his girlfriend but he tells her that he doesn't have one anymore and she buys it. Eva just like Katherine gives in because of the tacit that Ray used on her. He was able to have complete control over to the point of her being jealous and only thinking about him. This lead to being able to take her on a date later on.
Now looking another quote from the book we are introduced to about tacit used by Petruchio to have dominance over Katharine.
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 home again. Come, sirrah, let's away.
Nay, I will give thee a kiss: now pray thee, love, stay.
(Page 205,Act 5, Scene 2, line 145-154)
Just like the quote from the book before you see Petruchio giving Kate ( Katharine) a ultamadem. She submits to this one again, so she doesn’t have to go home and be able to stay for the wedding. This shows the control Petruchio has over her,to get her to do what he says. They both get what they want as well.
The next scene in the movie Ray arrives late to the date with Eva on purpose.
Ray arrives late to his date with Eva, which makes eva mad but then he he hands her flowers and she is putty in his hands in a way. He used the tacit of arriving late to make her want him even more. She wouldn't say no to him since one he gets flowers to woo her and take over and plus she has been waiting this long to be with he couldn’t possibly give to up. He knows this and that's why he arrives late; knowing the control he has over her.
In conclusion, Ray and Petruchio use mind games and other tactics to have complete control over their woman. What they do work Kate ends to be calm a well behaved woman to the end and the same happens to Eva. Even though Ray admits the plan that the sisters partners had in the beginning and also falling in love with her, he still ends up changing her and making her less of an ill tempered woman. Both the movie and the book show that in order for the relationship work one partner needs to have dominance or full control over the other person
Comparing "The Taming of the Shrew" to "50 First Dates"
As “The Taming of the Shrew” proves, the idea of romantic love contrasting with beauty as been around for years. In “Shrew,” the bold Petruchio affirms that he will woo Katherine as his wife, no matter how many attempts he has to take. In the 2004 movie, “50 First Dates,” the main character realizes the scary secret of his love at first, but still sets himself to face rigorous journeys that he’d never chose to take at first--only to earn her.
Even though Petruchio and Henry Roth both took different routes to woo their special one’s, they both went overboard with their game plan just because of their special one’s beauty. Taming of the Shrew is a comedy written by William Shakespeare, around 1590. Petruchio and Katherine are the main characters in which most of the focuses lies upon. The main plot depicts the courtship of the convincing Petruchio and the unbearable Katherine. Petruchio is off to the city in the hope of finding himself a wealthy and beauteous wife, that’ll not only listen to him but impress everyone as well. Even though wealth was one major aspect while finding himself a bride, his romantic love at first sight with Katherine had removed the idea of wealth and was replaced with beauty. Petruchio’s romantic love at first sight with Katherine's beauty have urged him to step out of his comfort zone in the hope to win Katherine, who totally resists the proposal. Comparing this plot to the “50 First Dates,” the main character (Henry Roth) sets his heart on romancing Lucy, but soon realizes that she has a short term memory loss; she can’t remember what happened the previous day. This lead Henry to woo Lucy every single morning, in the hope that she’ll soon catch onto him, but unluckily she doesn’t. Lucy’s beauteous look lead Henry’s romantic love to try different tactics to woo her, while convincing Lucy’s family and friends, whom are very protective as well. This proves the idea that beauty is the trigger for love at first sight, and then as a result of this attraction, men go beyond their limits to try and win the woman. This resembles that even though our time period have changed from Shakespeare era to modern day, the fight for one's belief on love at first based on beauty have stayed unchanged.
You lie, in faith; for you are call'd 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. Line 193-203 )
Petruchio and others were in an argument behalf the subject of Petruchio marrying Katherine. No one could easily sink that idea of Petruchio wanting to marry Katherine since Katherine wasn’t someone who is easy to handle. Petruchio managed Baptista to give him permission to have a chat with Katherine. Baptista calls Katherine and leaves Petruchio and Katherine in a room where the they meet each other for the first time.
Even though Petruchio's main idea related to finding himself a bride who is wealthy and beauteous at the same, it soon flourished when he met Katherine for the first time. He was amazed by her beauty, leading himself to forget all the harsh things that was uttered by others about her. Even though Petruchio had acknowledged Katherine’s roughness and unwillingness to cooperate, Petruchio cared less about those matter because Katherine's beauty was Petruchio's main attention, thus leading himself to woo Katherine no matter the cost. Petruchio was certainly devoted in wooing Katherine, but the devotion glued itself stronger when Katherine's beauty is what Petruchio was after. In addition, Petruchio basically tries to speak words that a women likes to hear, making him more vulnerable towards her.
This segment proves how the beauty is the trigger for love at first sight. When Petruchio first met Katherine, all the other important subject had vanished. Petruchio’s love at first sight have also triggered his love for Katherine and her beauty which is followed throughout the play.
Even though both of these examples had the same idea, there approach were significantly different. When Petruchio first met Katherine, Katherine had no intention or pleasure with talking with him. She constantly disrupted the conversation even though Petruchio constantly had eulogized Katherine’s look. Wherelse in the movie, when Henry first tried to chat with Katherine, she was welcoming and they both have engaged in a well mannered conversation. Basically, Henry had encountered a easier time talking with his love at first sight where Petruchio barely got to talk. But at the end, they both were fond of their future partners beauty and fought for it.
Previously, Henry was just after random girls but didn’t care much about lasting any kind of relationship with them. He didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of commitment and had always tried to ignore that approach. But in this case, Lucy’s beauty have flourished love at fight sight, and that love leaded Henry to experiment different approaches in which some of Lucy’s lost memory can be returned. Henry didn’t ever try to do things in the favor of his other dates, but in Lucy’s case, Kevin is devoted for her and will help her no matter what, just because her beauty have built up a feeling of love her inside. Not only he took the risk to steal a diary and make a video out of it, he risked his life to Lucy's father and brother who are over protective about her. This sets Henry to make videos for Lucy every single day, which reminds Lucy about what happened the previous day. Henry went out of his comfort zone to help Lucy out, which shows Henry’s devoted love towards Lucy. Afterall, Henry have no idea will Lucy ever get back to her normal life, but he still continues to strive his best and win her over.
This segment proves how the beauty is the trigger for love at first sight, and then as a result of this attraction, Henry goes beyond his limit to try and win Lucy over, forgetting the rare disease that exists on her. The love that was built inside Henry with the help of Lucy’s beauty is not letting Henry give up hope on Lucy. Henry basically went from viewing women as an object to actually respect and honor them. This idea can be easily connected to “The Taming of the Shrew.”
Why, what's a moveable?
Thou hast hit it: come, sit on me.
Asses are made to bear, and so are you.
Women are made to bear, and so are you.
No such jade as you, if me you mean.
Alas! good Kate, I will not burden thee;
For, knowing thee to be but young and light--
Too light for such a swain as you to catch;
And yet as heavy as my weight should be.
(ACT II SCENE I. Line 207-225)
This segment proves how the beauty is the trigger for love at first sight and how soon Petruchio went beyond his limits to win Katherine over. Even though Petruchio and Henry had different approach to get closer to their future brides, their main goal was to please them. Henry took a more calm and approaching manner towards Lucy while he was trying to help her. It made Henry look more supporting towards Lucy, while winning her love as well at the same time. Wherelse, Petruchio’s approach was rough in a sense, but is understandable since Katherine’s is a rough persona to deal with. Petruchio tried is his best manner to do things that Katherine will prefer, so sooner she’ll make the process of making her bride a little easier.
By the end of the play and the movie, both Henry and Petruchio was able to meet their initial goal. There were obstacles in their way which made their journey rough, but they had set their eyes in Lucy’s and Katherine's beauty, which kept them on their feet. Understandably, both the fathers of Katherine and Lucy weren’t able to express their acceptance to the idea of them getting in a relationship. Lucy’s father was always concerned about her rare condition and Katherine’s father was concerned about her angerness. Both Henry and Petruchio were able to cope with those complication and eventually come to a happy ending. This proves the idea that beauty is the trigger for love at first sight, and then as a result of this attraction, men go beyond their limits to try and win the woman. This resembles that even though our time period have changed from Shakespeare era to modern day, the fight for one's belief on love at first based on beauty have stayed unchanged.
"50 First Dates Script - Dialogue Transcript." 50 First Dates Script. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.
<http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/f/50-first-dates-script-transcript.html>. "Taming of the Shrew: Entire Play." Taming of the Shrew: Entire Play. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. <http://shakespeare.mit.edu/taming_shrew/full.html>.
"Taming of the Shrew", a movie about love that has been around for a long time. "How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days", a recent movie about breaking up with a guy in a limited time. Both of these pieces have their characters go through trial and error when it comes to love and show us different yet similar sides of love.
In both "Taming of The Shrew" and "How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days", deception is key point for the relationships of main characters. In "The Shrew", Lucentio, a guy who has fallen in love with a girl named Bianca, who dresses up as an education instructor in order to gain her love. While a man named Petruchio, who is trying to gain Katherine’s love breaks a promise he made to her father of having Katherine fall in love before having her marry him.
In "10 Days", Andie, a woman currently working for a magazine was given a task that needed to be completed in 10 days, which was to lose a guy that has grown attached to her. She chose Benjamin as the guy she would "lose". These two texts are different because in “The Shrew” , Petruchio’s trying to gain Katherine’s in order to gain the riches he will, but in “10 days” the main character is trying to drive a guy away in a limited amount of time. However, they are more similar than different because by the end of both these pieces someone eventually falls in love because love eventually blooms, even through the deception, because in the end they have truth to make up for it.
“Lucentio: I told you before… I am Lucentio… son unto Vincentio of Pisa, and that “Lucentio” comes a-wooing… is my man Tranio… bearing my port… that we might beguile the old pantaloon.
Bianca: I know you not… I trust you not… take heed he hear us not… presume not… despair not”
(Act 3, Scene 1, Lines 33-47, Lucentio and Bianca’s Dialogue)
In “The Shrew” a lot of deception occurs and in this scene, Lucentio reveals who he actually is. Bianca is not fond of the idea that he did hide who he was, but was willing to let him know that he still had a chance to be with her. Unlike Bianca, both Andie and Benjamin were not fond of deceiving one another. It is clear in this scene that Bianca is ok with the way Lucentio and the others deceived her. She was willing to give him a chance because she was in such a rush to fall in love and get married.
Compared to Bianca and Lucentio, Andie and Ben are not in a place where they want to fall in love, but due to a bet and an article, they eventually do causing a huge break down in their relationship.
At this point if “10 days”, Andie finds out about the bet Benjamin made and Benjamin finds out about the article that Andie was going to write. Both parties get angry at one another for the setup, but walk away with raw emotions. Compared to “The Shrew”, Andie walked away during this fight, unlike Katherine who
sticks by Petruchio’s side even though he always treated her like trash. Katherine stuck around even though she was given a chance to run away. Andie on the other hand did not accept being toyed around the way she was, but neither did Benjamin.
“Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign, one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance; commits his body
To painful labor, both by sea and land”
(Act 5, Scene 2, Lines 17-20 Katherine’s Dialogue)
When the final scene in the book came around, Katherine was the first wife to follow her husband’s orders and come to him first while dragging the other wives with her. She then goes into a speech on how a woman should treat her husband and how those women who refused to go to their husbands should be ashamed of themselves. In “The Shrew” Katherine confessed her “love” to Petruchio, but he did not do the same. The reason for that is that he does not love her because all he wanted in the first place was the land and money he would get by marrying her. The difference in these two scenes is that in “10 days” both Benjamin and Andie love each other, but difference in “The Shrew” Katherine only “loves” Petruchio and he does not “love” her back.
Unlike in “The Shrew”, in “10 days” both of the main characters show a strong love for one another by the end of the movie.
By the end of the movie, Andie has published her article on “How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days”. When a friend of Benjamin’s reads the article, he hands it to Ben to read. As he scans the article he sees that Andie talks about being in love with Ben and he decides to go after her. They soon confront each other about their love and get together. Even through what they have done to one another, they looked back on what had happened within the 10 days they had been together, making them forget about the bad and embrace their love. Although in both pieces, the characters confess their love, the one person who did not do so was Petruchio, he was the only one who had yet to say I love you in some sort of way to Katherine and mean it.
In the end, these two movies have managed to show love blossoming through the worst of situations. Even through the rough times a person can still find the emotions to appreciate another and accept the love they have truly fought to find. Both “Taming of The Shrew” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” have shown two stories unfold in crazy ways. The base of the relationships might not have been stable, but the result was a good by the the end because it was love that made them forget all about those bad things and only focus on their love.
Love or Money?
Comparing "Taming of the Shrew" to "Something’s Gotta Give"
In the novel "The Taming of the Shrew" it is proven that Petruchio and all the other men fight to have the opportunity to marry Katherine or Bianca. In the 2003 movie "Something's Gotta Give" the main character Jack Nicholson is rich and owns tons of businesses. He shows interest in young women only and they rush to catch any opportunities to be with him. The young woman in the movie is viewed as a gold digger and is seen negatively in society.
Both Jack and Petruchio share similar stories, but there thought process is different. Money plays a role in both situations, but with the movie Jack just wants a young woman to have sexual relations with while Petruchio wants a housewife with children. Dowry is brought up a lot throughout the novel and the men discuss how they don't want to get matched with someone who is poor. So, the main priority is the money, but women have to settle and just go along with it. In the novel, this shows how women are being used, but in the movie the man is using the woman in one way and the woman is using him in another. "These text show that money has always had a big influence on relationships, but that has changed over time as women have more direct access to earning and keeping money. As a result women’s status in relationships have changed a lot and improved. They are more equal now. "
"And therefore if thou know, One is rich enough to be Petruchio's wife..."
(Act l Scene 2, 67-68)
In this quote, Petruchio explains to Hortensio he’s looking for a wealthy wife. He later marries Katherine whose father and family are very wealthy. Petruchio has no intentions of marrying a woman he loves or has anything in common with. He prefers a woman he can tame and a woman with money.
Erica caters to Harry as he recovers from a heart attack. He continuously tries to come on to her and plays his tricks like Petruchio.
In this scene Harry is trying to woo Erica by holding conversation and coming onto her. In the play Petruchio does something similar when he confronts Katherine and constantly follows her around trying to win her over.
" I come to wive it wealthily in Padua; If wealthily, then happily Padua."
(Act 1, Scene 2, 76-77)
Here Petruchio explains how marriage is what he wants, but money is the key. He explains how marriage brings happiness not from love, but from having a lot of money. To him that his what makes a relationship successful.
Jack hops from woman to woman, but has yet to think about settling down or finding a woman that actually suits him.
Here, Jack is staying at the beach house with his young girlfriend Marin. The house is very nice, with a view, and is spacious. In “The Taming Of The Shrew” Petruchio would have wanted to marry Marin because she’s young and pretty, but also comes with money to support herself and show off. As mentioned in my intro both Harry and Marin are using each other. She wants a man with money and he wants a young girl who can keep him interested and feeling good about himself.
" Hortensio: I promised we would be contributors, and bear his charging of wooing wharsoe'e. Gremio: And so we will, provided that he win her.
(Act 1, Scene 2, 218-220)
Marriages are treated like business deals in this play between Katherine's father and the man she’s marrying. Everything is set up and decided between the men and women are just expected to follow along with all the decisions they make. In the movie, you can see that Harry chooses to break up with Marin for her mother Erica and she agrees to it.
As the movie starts Harry is considered a player and gives out his money to young women he’s sleeping with. He explains that he only dates women under 30, but as the movie progresses he begins to have heart attacks, panic attacks, and other health problems due to the sexual relations with these different young women.
At the end of the movie, Harry falls in love with a woman named Erica who is his age and ends up marrying her. He comes to realize that he can be happy with a woman his age. Also, Marin the woman Harry left finds a husband her age and has children. She becomes independent enough to manage her own money and not follow after a man has seen in “The Taming of the Shrew”.
William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is a tale of spousal abuse and marital intrigue. Its main conflict is between Petruchio and Katherine, a suitor and an unwilling bride, respectively. While some of its observations remain pertinent, it is less than timeless. More updated representations of romance can be found in modern romantic comedies, like 1989’s When Harry Met Sally, which focuses on, yup, Harry and Sally. Their relationship is, for most of the movie, more nebulous than the one presented in The Taming, but by the end of the movie, the characters are married. Where they are separate are the ways in which those characters reach marriage, and those different ways reflect the time periods that both works were written in. The different ways that the main characters of The Taming of the Shrew and When Harry Met Sally approach marriage prove that power is more evenly spread in a modern romantic relationship than in a historic one.
Petruchio has rather low standards for marriage. In Act 1, Scene 2, lines 61-62, he explains this plainly. “I come to wive it wealthily in Padua; If wealthily, then happily in Padua.”
Katherine’s father is rich, so Petruchio deems to court her. Katherine, who is known for her rude, violent behavior, is somehow not opposed to marriage, be it generally or personally. In fact, in Act 2, scene 1, line 33, Katherine worries that “I must dance barefoot on [my well-tempered, attractive, and therefore oft-courted sister’s] wedding day.” A wedding would seem mutually beneficial, then, but their first meeting leaves Katherine angered. She simply dislikes Petruchio. After a long argument in which Katherine tells Petruchio that, essentially, she’ll never marry him, Petruchio says to Katherine’s father:
“Father, 'tis thus: yourself and all the world,
That talk'd of her, have talk'd amiss of her...
And to conclude, we have 'greed so well together,
That upon Sunday is the wedding-day.”
Katherine says to Petruchio:
“I’ll see thee hang’d on Sunday first.”
(Act 2, Scene 2, lines 280-289)
Regardless of her prior interest in marriage, she has made something very clear. She can’t stand Petruchio. She would rather kill him than marry him, if one is to take her words literally. Marriage has historically been seen as the final goal for women, especially in an era where very limited options for work were available to them. For Katherine to refuse marriage, after acknowledging that she has basically succumbed to the societal pressures, means that she bears an impressive amount of hatred for Petruchio. Regardless of her wishes, though, Petruchio married her that Sunday.
Like Katherine, Sally wants marriage. When she informed her boyfriend Joe of this interest, he told her that he didn’t share that interest. Recognizing their different motivations for a relationship, Sally pragmatically broke it off with Joe. Sally recounts to Harry, “We wanted to live together, but we didn't want to get married because every time anyone we knew got married, it ruined their relationship… Joe and I used to talk about it, and we'd say we were so lucky we have this wonderful relationship, we can have sex on the kitchen floor and not worry about [kids] walking in. We can fly off to Rome on a moment's notice... And [at the circus, a] man had [a little kid] on his shoulders, and she said, ‘I spy a family.’ And I started to cry. You know, I just started crying. And I went home, and I said, ‘The thing is, Joe, we never do fly off to Rome on a moment's notice.’”
Where Katherine was married against her will, Sally was denied marriage. What’s different about these situations is that Sally was allowed to break up with her significant other when she wasn’t getting what she wanted from a relationship. Katherine got absolutely nothing she wanted from her relationship with Petruchio, but because renaissance-era Italy was less progressive than synthpop-era America, she was not allowed to end the relationship. The power of termination was in the hands of Petruchio, or even in the hands of her father. It certainly wasn’t in her own hands. Sally’s ability to end her relationship is a distinctly modern one.
After the wedding, Petruchio took it upon himself to make a more compliant, mild-mannered Katherine, through the time-honored traditions of gaslighting, torture, and just plenty of abuse. If one is to, again, believe that Katherine speaks without sarcasm, then it would appear that he was successful, as Katherine said to two insolent wives:
“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.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come, you froward and unable worms!
My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
My heart as great, my reason haply more,
To bandy word for word and frown for frown;
But now I see our lances are but straws,
Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.”
(Act 5, Scene 2, lines 170-185)
Strong women don’t last in this era. The odds are stacked too strongly against them. So, when Katherine, a once-defiant woman, goes on and on about the inferiority of the female gender, it is clear that all traces of her personality have all been replaced with the vision of her imagined by Petruchio. She not only accepts the marriage that she had once been so fully opposed to, she accepts her role, the woman’s role, as a servant.
Harry experienced a similar change in opinion regarding the dynamics of romance. In his youth, he confidently asserted that women and men can’t be friends due to the possibility of sex always hanging in the air. But after around a sexless friendship with Sally, his mind began to change. In reflection, he told her, “You know, you may be the first attractive woman I've not wanted to sleep with in my entire life.”
Sally managed to change Harry’s mind, and in a rather effortless way. She didn’t need to resort to such extreme measures as Petruchio did to get Harry to come over to her way of thinking. In fact, her friendly presence was all that was required to change Harry’s beliefs. That a woman could change the mind of a man is uniquely modern, especially considering Katherine’s conclusions about women’s inferiority.
Marriage was an apparent goal to Katherine and Sally. Katherine denied marriage with Petruchio; Joe denied with Sally. Katherine was too bold to do deny as she did, and so her personality was erased, whereas Sally managed to change her male friend’s personality quite passively. The differences in era, the dichotomy of “then and now,” make their situations quite different. Per old traditions, Katherine was stripped of self for having fight in her. In the modern case, Sally was actually able to change Harry. The gender reversal shows a greater equality in power among both genders in a heterosexual relationship. Sally was able to break up with Joe, while Katherine was forced to marry Petruchio. Sally’s freedom would not exist in that older era. The power granted to her by the passage of time put her on equal footing with all of her male counterparts. Her ability to remain independent, to date those she’d like to, and to express whatever opinion she has is an ability granted by modernity and its progressive tendencies.
Both John Tucker must Die and The taming of the shrew show the same theme of dominance and control is the main key to a relationship. Petruchio uses his dominance and his male status to control kate and tame her. While Kate uses her sexilyness and confidence to play John. Both Petruchio and Kate have one common goal, to “tame” their spouse into what they want.
The movie is different from the play in one big way: The idea of taming. In the taming of the shrew Petruchio is looking for rich wife, when he meets Kate he realizes he has to do some work on her. After settling the deal with her father, he decides to tame her by tactics such as starving her, ignoring her, looking down on her, and by doing so he is changing her way of thinking and making her truly believe that a wife’s job is to serve the man.. In John Tucker must die Kate is the new girl at school and she notices that three girls are being played by the same man, John Tucker. The girls decides to get even with John by taming kate to be the perfect woman to make him fall in love. She uses tactics such as joining cheerleading, joining clubs, and a whole new wardrobe. In the end she tames him to be the perfect man. This difference shows that attitudes about “taming” someone have changed--today their our laws that prevent abusing people, so Kate uses her sexyness. But in Shakespeare's time, abuse was very common.
The taming of the shrew is a story about “true” love. Through the play it expressive the idea that love has to be perfect. The perfect women, the perfect house, the perfect wealth, and the perfect “shrew”. Petruchio express what he wants in marriage, wealth. He doesn’t care who he marries as long as they are rich.
“I come to wive wealthily in Padua; if wealthily then happily in Padua.”
Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 76-77.
Kate matches Petruchio perfect woman, why she is the daughter of a wealthy man who owns a ton of land. Petruchio follows the rule that is set in place, that true love is perfect. So he persuses the rich man's daughter but realizes that in order for it to be a perfect marriage, he has to tame her.
“After my death, the one half of my lands, And, in possession, twenty thousand crowns.”
Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 115
After learning how rich Kate is and will be when her father dies, he becomes very determined to win her.
In the movie, John Tucker is the typical high school jock, he has all the ladies, the looks, and the clothing. All the girls want him and all the guys want to be him. John has 3 girlfriends, one is an over achiever, one is a cheerleader, and eco friendly person. One thing they all have in common is that they are known in the school, Unlike Kate.
“John Tucker, Let's face it, He is the man,
Captain of the basketball team, his family's loaded...
and he looks somewhere between an Abercrombie model...
and a Greek god,- Kate”
Kate was more of a shy and quiet girl. She moves around a lot because her mother goes from relationship to relationship. So Kate never really was able to make friends. Kate considered herself to be invisible, no one ever noticed her. It’s safe to say that Kate and John are the total opposite from each other unlike Petruchio and Kate (TTOTS).
“I was in seventh grade...
when I realized
I was invisible- Kate”
Petruchio main goal to have in a woman is wealth, but he wants more. He decided to tame the loud and confident kate with tactics such as starving her, leaving her, and embarrassing her. He wants the perfect woman so bad that he changes her so she can fit his ideal woman instead of accepting her for how she is.
“Women are made to bear, and so are you.”
Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 1048
After a while Kate accepts Petruchio and changes herself. The play presents the idea of everything being perfect in order to have the perfect marriage. At the end of Kate’s little sister's wedding, their husbands check to see who’s wife will listen to them. Kate’s sister didn’t answer to her husband and kate called her out on it.
“Fie, fie, unknit that threat'ning unkind brow
And dart not scornful glances from those eyes
To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor.
It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads,
Confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair buds,
And in no sense is meet or amiable.
A woman moved is like a fountain troubled,
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty,
And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee
And for thy maintenance; commits his body
To painful labor both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou li'st warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks, and true obedience--
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince,
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;
And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
I am ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace,
Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway,
Whey they are bound to serve, love, and obey.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come, you froward and unable worms,
My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
My heart as great, my reason haply more,
To bandy word for word and frown for frown.
But now I see our lances are but straws,
Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
And place your hands below your husband's foot,
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready, may it do him ease.”
Act V, Scene 2, Lines 2644
Kate is trying to get back at John for treating women like crap, but maybe it’s a little more than that. Kate is making a statement to all men, especially the ones that play her mother. Never treat a women wrong, or she will come a get you. With the help of her new friends, she becomes the perfect women that John looks for in a woman. She goes from being an outcast to one of the most popular girl in school.
“And we can make you into anything, If we combine...
all of us, we can make him fall in love with you-.
I mean really fall in love- and then we'll...
yank it all out from under him,”
After coming to the realization that they can just break his heart, the three friends (AKA John’s ex girlfriend) and combine themselves into her. Making her the “perfect” woman for John to fall in love with.
“Who’s the new cheerleader? She’s hot”- John
Kate went along with the plan. She will be the perfect woman for John Tucker. When he falls in love with her, she will break his heart like he did to the other girls. Some of the tactics used to make her “perfect” was trying out for cheerleading. What is more perfect than the caption of the basketball team dating the cheerleader.
Kate proved her love to Petruchio when she listened to his command and gave a speech on how women are made to please and served their husband. Petruchio uses abuse to tame kate into his perfect woman.
“Why, there's a wench! Come on, and kiss me, Kate.”
Act V, Scene 2, Line 2688
John being the typical high school jock, fell for the new kate. But the plan started not to work when kate blurred the lines between acting in love and being in love. In a nutshell, John found out about Kate's plans and broke up with her. Kate then apologized and John became the perfect man. He was not cheating anymore, lying anymore, and being disrespectful.
“And John Tucker?
We definitely got to him,
He never lied to a girl again,
What is “real love”? Is it chanling everyone to be the perfect match or accepting their flaws? One thing to consider is the time period of both the movie and play. Love evolved over the years from being the perfect match to beating the odds. The taming of the shrew uses the idea of the perfect match with Petruchio and Kate by pairing the two crazy couples together. While John Tucker must die beats the standards that Shakespeare put by making the basketball player fall in love with the social outcast. So should “taming” be apart of the definition of “love”? Well one thing for sure is that it is a common theme through love stories.
Who’s in it for the love?
A look at how romantic comedies portray people close to the partners judging the relationship
Woody Allen's modern romantic comedy "Annie Hall" (1977) seems completely disconnected from the 16th century play "The Taming Of The Shrew". While the circumstances are wildly different, viewers can see how romantic relationships can be based on love for the participants, but looked at in different light by people close to those actually in the relationship. In "Annie Hall" The main character, Alvy, is in a relationship with Annie which is based on love and romantic attraction. The movie is based around their relationship and how it works and doesn’t. They both receive advice about what to do in the relationship and judgement on whether or not the relationship is right for them. In the "Taming Of The Shrew" Baptista, father of Katherine and Bianca, must judge the relationships that his daughters are about to start and what value they hold. Katherine is the older daughter and must get married first before Bianca who is more attractive to suitors, but finally Katherine gets married and Bianca becomes available for marriage. In both the play and the movie there is analysis from outside characters on the main relationship.
Viewers can see that the loved ones of the individuals in the relationship, judge the relationship itself. This is to be expected if they want the best for the person they are close, but in both pieces of media, we see that more often the values are based things other than the person's romantic love. There are many elements that outsiders may want to see in the relationship such as money, short term pleasure, and future along with others. While audiences like to think that people analyze relationships based on love, in these romantic comedies, outsiders are judging the relationship on aspects other than the "love" of the person.
“Content you Gentlemen. I will compound this strife. ‘Tis deeds must win the prize, and he of both that can assure my daughter greatest dower shall have my Bianca’s love.” (Act- 2, Scene - 1, page- 101)
In the show the character Bianca has many suitors because of her beauty. In this scene the father of Bianca (a young woman who is available for marriage to either of these men) is negotiating who will marry his daughter. One man is older, while one is younger and both are seeking Bianca’s hand in marriage. Based on the times the father must marry off the daughter. In this scene and quote, the father is asking about one thing: money. The fundamental value underlying the father's question is how many material possessions will Bianca have when she is married. This is what drives his decision making. The father's main focus is not the romantic love, but the physical wealth of his daughter in her relationship.
This scene is mirrored by Alvy’s character meeting Annie’s family. The viewer can see that the family approves (excluding the anti semitic grandmother for ethnic based reasons, this grandmother character is used as a comical character) of Alvy based on the general lack of confrontation and tension. This is shown through their manners and actions. One example of this is Annie’s brother trusting Alvy enough to tell him deep thoughts in the next scene. Also based on the family’s positive reactions, the viewer can tell that the family approves of the relationship. The paradox is that at dinner Alvy is not an attractive person so there is not necessarily a reason for them to like him based on character traits. The context shows that the family is basing their judgement on other things. The viewers can infer that the family knows about Alvy’s stable economic and social position because of previous conversations. Alvy’s character is well off in life and this may be the primary reason that the parents and other family members approve of the relationship.
This Annie Hall scene goes even farther. In the later part of the scene we meet Alvy’s family. Before the scene is flashed up Alvy makes the statement that “the two (families) are like oil and water” but we can still see the values are similar. His family's immediate discussion is based on a relationship between two unnamed characters and their marriage. The comments are on the economic stability of the husband. They state he doesn’t have a good jobs and he’s too old to not have a career. This again is judging the basis of the relationship off the economics and not the love.
While the scenes and motives are similar between these two pieces there are many differences. For example in “Shrew” the negotiation and money settlements are very direct and outlined clearly. In Annie Hall the money is more on the outside of the conversation and hinted at, which is normal in the American culture. The context is assumed in Annie Hall and direct in “The Taming Of A Shrew.”
“Master, you looked so longly on the maid, Perhaps you marked not what’s the pith of all.” (Act 1, Scene 1, page 41)
In this scene in the show Lucentio's friend is trying to tell Lucentio not to engage in this relationship. Lucentio is the main suitor of Bianca who fell in love at first sight. Tranio is his friend and servant. Lucentio has fallen in love with Bianca at first sight and he intends to marry her already, but Tranio says this line. This statement is judging Lucentio engaging in that relationship not based on feelings of love, but instead what Lucentio's future would look like. Lucentio was supposed to be focused on his education and Tranio’s statement is saying he should not engage because he would become sidetracked with the relationship. This line shows how Tranio mostly focuses on a judgement of the relationship not based on the love in the relationship.
In this scene the cinematographers use cartoon to tell the story which is why it look different. In this part of the movie Alvy’s friend Rob is trying to be convinced by Alvy that he should leave his relationship based on love to pursue other relationship with different focuses such as sexual pleasure. In this scene Alvy is talking to the wicked witch of the Snow White story who is symbolic of a relationship. During their conversation, Rob comes in to try to convince him that a relationship that is based on love is not what is right for him. We can see that the witch is sexulized in this scene as Rob is convincing him that he should stop looking for love and focus more on short term pleasure. Rob leads Alvy into a date with a separate women and they hook up before Alvy realizes that sort of relationship is not what he wants, he would like a relationship based on love and not short term or sexual pleasure.
Obviously these scenes are different because these friends are looking at separate things. While Tranio is looking at Lucentio’s future, Rob is looking at Alvy’s immediate pleasure. The nature of the judgement is different because Rob is actively setting Alvy up. The differences are clear, but the link between these two scenes is how close friends give advice and make judgements on the relationship based on things other than romantic love. These show future goals and short term pleasure to be things that friends look for in relationships as higher priorities.
In both of these stories viewers can see how the people close to the partners analyze and judge the relationship and the values it has for the person they’re close to. Different people look at different aspects of the relationship to judge it. In both the play “The Taming Of The Shrew” and the movie “Annie Hall” different characters judge the relationship based on many things including money, social class, pleasure, and future opportunity. While these come in various forms and from different perspectives, their underlying reason is never love. They rarely judge the relationship based on romantic love of the partners.
In The Taming of the Shrew one can see how Baptista, the father of Katherine (also known as Kate) and Bianca, has a certain standards for the men his daughters would marry. Katherine being lucky even to just get married, due to her bad attitude. While his second daughter, Bianca is to marry a man that fits his requirements or at least approaches his requirements. In the year of 2002, during My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a woman falls in love with a non- Greek man. Which does not fit her father’s requirement, for he wants a Greek husband for his daughter. This makes her love life more complicated than she wanted. The Taming of the Shrew and My Big Fat Greek Wedding both have characters in which are not giving up till they get their wanted spouse.
While taking in account their thoughts and requirements of family members, Bianca’s and Toula’s fathers both have requirements for their daughter's spouse. There is a difference in what the expectations are while one is looking for the wealth (Baptista), the other father Gus is looking for the right ethnicity. This shows how parents still have high expectations and requirements for their child's spouse. Even though in modern era people have more freedom to love and marry who they want. Diminishing the power of parents, for today the younger generation is not frowned upon (as much) if they don’t listen to their parents. Yet still parents have their say and expectations in their child’s marriage. Toula’s father, Gus from My Big Fat Greek Wedding shows how proud of a Greek he is. In the scene below, Gus states:
This quote shows just how stuck up Gus is about being Greek. Always telling his family and especially his unmarried daughter about how Greeks are the best and that no one else can be like them; meaning that ‘you can only marry a Greek boy for he is the best.’
In The Taming of the Shrew Baptista has different expectations for each daughter for the attitudes they have. For Katherine his eldest daughter Baptista just wants her to get married. But due to her sour attitude towards all especially men, it is hard to find a suitor for her. With saying such, he also wants Katherine to get married before Bianca. Bianca is known to be much more fair, sweet, and kind. Meaning that everyone wants to marry Bianca while they are all being held back by the older sister which cannot find a spouse to marry her. In act 2, scene 1, lines 361-364
“Content you, gentlemen. I will compound this strife.
‘Tis deeds must win the prize, and he of both
That can assure my daughter greatest dower
Shall have my Bianca's love.“
Here Baptista tells suitors of Bianca, that are fighting over who will marry Bianca; Baptista responds to both of them saying that whoever has more to offer (Deeds), wins and gets to marry his daughter. Deeds meaning wealth. Who ever has more, wins the ‘prize.’ In My Big Fat Greek Wedding the father of Toula, has the key requirement of her spouse being a greek boy. In the scene below, Toula is in the car with her father and narrates listing the three things nice Greek girl are supposed to do in level
“Because nice Greek girls, are supposed to do three things in life. Marry Greek boys, make Greek babies, and feed everyone till the day we die. “
It seems that there is one mission for Greek girls and then after that there is nothing else. Just to meet the required spouse and then make children and keep being the housewife. In The Taming Of The Shrew Kate and Bianca have been given a mission to get married and to take good care of their spouse.
My husband and my lord, my lord and husband,
I am your wife in all obedience.
I know it well. (Induction.2.107-109)”
Here in the induction Sly has no doubt understanding that he is the dominate one in this relationship. Giving him a raise in thought and control. Showing how in a relationship how love it not only counted for but how the control in the relationship; changes many keys.
Here Ian is getting baptised in order to fit one of the many requirements in order to marry Toula. Her father stated that Ian must be baptised in order to marry Toula. Gus tops everything off by saying,
“It is your lucky day to be baptised into the Greek Orthodox Church!”
Later on his friend, Mike states how Toula’s family has Ian wrapped around her little finger. Ian tells Mike that he loves her and will do anything in order to be with her. Here there is a different definition of love; that you will do anything in order to keep your spouse happy and to be with them. Yet the control is used in different ways. In The Taming of the Shrew control is used in order to tame others and for that person to only get what they want. Toula’s family may be doing the same thing; just the other person in the relationship has to pay the toll. Ian does it for love, as Katherine coops with some of the things Petruchio says in order to just get to what she wants. Like a bribe ‘I will take you to your father if you prove my control on you.’
Petruchio: I say it is the moon.
Katherina: I know it is the moon.
Petruchio: Nay, then you lie; it is the blessed sun.
Katherina: Then, God be bless'd, it is the blessed sun;
But sun it is not, when you say it is not;
And the moon changes even as your mind.
What you will have it nam'd, even that it is,
And so it shall be so for Katherine(Act IV, Scene 5 ).
Love has many tolls in which it’s romance may not last forever. Yet the control is something that most try at in order to show the love in the relationship. That control can also be used when trying to make the spouse meet up with the requirements. Parents have always had a huge say in their children’s spouse. With the requirements they made in order to have a good spouse for their child in order to set them for a ‘good’ future. The child’s say today is what has really changed. For when Kate got married to Petruchio she did not agree, and never tried to marry him. She was just put into that spot where she had too. While Toula had much more say and actually got what she wanted; to marry Ian. In this era the child has more say yet as requirements may differ at points in the end the one with more control, makes the other partner change in order to fit certain requirements.
Dirty Dancing with the Shrew
Dirty Dancing in Relation to The Taming of the Shrew
In the play “The Taming of the Shrew” Baptista, the father of two unwed daughters Bianca and Katherine, has to decide who his children will marry. Similar to the 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing,” Dr. Jake Houseman, the father of the main character Baby and her sister Lisa, places his input on who he thinks are right for his daughters to date. However in “Shrew” Baptista has the final say on the spouses of his daughters while in “Dirty Dancing” Dr. Houseman does not. What causes the difference between these two stories is the time period. When “Shrew” was written in 1593, it was traditional for parents to have a very heavy influence, if not total control on who their children would marry. But times had changed when “Dirty Dancing” was introduced in 1987, as people had more freedom to marry who they loved rather than who their parents approved of.
Despite this change in a new era of romance, both men went through similar situations. They each thought they knew who was best for their daughters, but in the end were fooled by false outer appearances and personalities. This revealed that the men they thought were best, were actually conniving, indifferent, and uncaring for the love of their daughters.
"Content you, gentlemen. I will compound this strife.
‘Tis deeds must win the prize, and he of both
That can assure my daughter greatest dower
Shall have my Bianca's love. "
Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 361-365
This line of the play is spoken by Baptista, father of Katherine and Bianca. In this scene he is addressing Bianca’s potential suitors and saying that whoever can offer the greatest dowry, will be chosen to marry Bianca. Of course, he is doing this in good faith thinking that whoever has the most material possessions will be able to provide what is best for his daughter. What he was not thinking of was who would be able to provide for the emotional well-being of Bianca. He saw the wealthy men and did not put a second thought into how they would treat Bianca as a person. It is interesting to look back and see what parents valued in the spouses of their children compared to today, and notice it is not as different as one would think.
Continuing this thought, Baptista’s thought process is very similar to the mindset of Dr. Houseman in Dirty Dancing. While staying at a resort during the summer, he sets his daughter Baby up on a date with a wealthy young man. This is to keep her away from a lower class dancer named Johnny Castle, who he thinks is rebellious and a bad influence. He only sees Johnny’s rugged, “bad boy” exterior, and not how he acts around Baby.
In the first screenshot, Dr. Houseman is telling Johnny to stay away from Baby. At this point in the movie he is aware that they have been spending time together and definitely does not approve of it. In order to keep the two apart he sets Baby up with a wealthy young man named Neil Kellerman. In the second screenshot, Neil and Baby are on a date and Neil is talking about his accomplishments. As shown, he considers himself “the catch of the county,” and continuously tries to woo baby with his wealth, education, and social status; she is never impressed. She would much rather be with someone who connects with her on an emotional level and values her goals in life than someone who can offer her material possessions. It is sad but true that her father can see that as he persists in keeping Baby away from Johnny. He is blinded by Johnny’s inability to climb the social ladder and cannot see the support he gives Baby in every aspect of life.
"Thus in plain terms: your father hath consented
That you shall be my wife, your dowry ‘greed on,
And will you, nill you, I will marry you"
Act 2, Scene 1, Line 261-272
In this scene, Petruchio, Katherine’s only suitor, has tricked Baptista into approving of him and letting him marry Katherine for love. He is telling Katherine that no matter how she feels or what she does they will be married against her will. This is a direct example of how Baptista’s judgement of Petruchio was wrong and skewed. He thought that Petruchio was best fit for Katherine but in reality Baptista set his daughter up with a misogynistic, demanding, and overall awful person. Petruchio portrayed his relationship with Katherine as one of love even though she openly rejected him multiple times. He was able to influence the mindset of her friends and family into thinking that even though she hated Petruchio publicly, when they were in private she practically worshipped him. It is later shown after they are married the physical and emotional abuse Petruchio forces upon Katherine. If Baptista knew about the maltreatment of Katherine, he would have never let Petruchio marry his daughter. But because of Petruchio’s charm and false pretenses, Baptista was tricked into thinking he was the perfect fit for Katherine.
This type of relationship is comparable to that of Baby’s sister Lisa. Dr. Houseman approved of the boy he set her up with named Robbie Gould, as he came from a wealthy family and had a promising future ahead of him. However, Dr. Houseman did not see the abuse Robbie placed on Lisa behind the scenes of their relationship.
In this screenshot Robbie states, “Some people count, some people don’t.” This particular quote speaks volumes of his true character which he hid from Dr. Houseman. When talking with Dr. Houseman, Robbie appeared to be the paradigm of gentlemen, but this was a different story when Houseman was away. In this particular scene Robbie is addressing Baby while no one else is around and reveals his true motives to her. Much like Petruchio to Baptista, Robbie has no trouble manipulating Dr. Houseman to see him as an upstanding citizen, working during the Summer and going to medical school in the Fall. However in reality he had been sleeping around and exploiting women for his own pleasure. Dr. Houseman was never suspicious of his behavior until he accidentally revealed himself at the end of the movie. If it were not for this happening Dr. Houseman would in no way learned that Robbie was not what he claimed to be. After discovering this, he opens his heart and sees that the choices he made may not have been the best for Lisa and Baby, showing that he truly cares for his daughter and not just for material possessions.
Both fathers thought they did what was right for their daughters, but in the end were wrong in their assumptions. While the play and the movie tell the same tale of parental influence on relationships, Dr. Houseman was able to change his ways and recognize his mistakes. As Baptista went through the same experiences, he did not see that his influence was wrong for both of his daughters. This, in part, is caused by the time difference of both stories. Culturally, the idea of parents having a say on who their children will marry has been a staple in society, although it has become less authoritative over time. As Baptista has complete dominance over his daughters’ marriages, Dr. Houseman can only give his input on who his daughters should go out with. This shows that the idea and seriousness of love is constantly changing with time, as well as how people interpret it. But it also shows that parents will always have some type of influence on their children's spouses.
Comparing “The Taming of the Shrew” to “Hitch”
With “The Taming of the Shrew”, Shakespeare introduces the historic idea of love, and it’s definitive nature of being solely for the economic and personal gain of an individual. All of the characters featured in the play are tailored around the idea that marriage, unlike society’s mythological perception, is not built upon love. On the other hand, Andy Tennant’s Hitch (2005), presents a modernized interpretation surrounding the meaning of love as well as its marital counterpart.
While some audiences may interpret the actions of Alex Hitchens to be similar to those of Petruchio, a large majority of viewers will see the contrast in personality between the two. Petruchio’s main objective throughout the entire play is to not only marry Katherine, for her wealth, but to successfully implement his dominance over her life. As opposed to most women during that era, Katherine is outspoken and rebellious to the many forms of oppression society had for women. This genre of society, consequently produced high standards that well-intentioned men unfortunately have to overcome in modern time. Yet, Hitch embraces these skeptic aspects of women and enjoys acting as a consultant, just as Tranio did for Lucentio, so as to guide innocent men to healthy, long-lasting relationships. These texts reflect that today, people believe that an authentic relationship needs to maintain the notion of honesty so as to prevent the historic one sided nature of a romantic union.
"And woo her with some spirit when she come! Say that she rail, why then I'll tell her plain, she sings as sweetly as a nightingale"
(Act 2, Scene 1, 177-180)
In this scene, we see a ponderous Petruchio lingering outside his soon-to-be fiance’s chamber. The suitor has just been blessed by Baptista, father to his love interest. The audience observes Petruchio reciting a remedy for subduing Katherine in the verbal joust that will surely ensue. As the quote portrays, he plans on utilizing reverse psychology, which is his definition of charming Katherine. However, instead of pursuing Katherine for her qualities as an individual, the perks of being married to her which include her large dowry as well as her beauty, outweigh the romantics in Petruchio’s mind.
Hitch finds himself in a similar predicament in the film, however, his actions lack villainous intent.
In this scene of the movie, we see the first encounter Hitch has with Sara Melas in a nightclub. Prior to their conversation, Sara had already dismissed a guy that attempted to pursue her, to no avail. And it is revealed by Hitch, as well as her body language, that she has come to the club in order to relax and enjoy the scenery. As a man trying to charm a woman, Hitch is left at a severe disadvantage in the sense that he is trying to come off sincere while Sara has already judged him as a “pig” with the intentions of seducing her.
"‘Tis deeds must win the prize, and he of both that can assure my daughter greatest dower shall have my Bianca’s love."
(Act 2, Scene 1, 361-365)
In this scene, we see Baptista contemplating the marriage proposals of two suitors. He is faced with the somewhat difficult decision of what offer is best for his daughter. And unlike modern marriage prepositions, which are centered around the happiness and love of both individuals, this proposal is encompassed around money. As the quote suggests, Baptista is basically offering his own child off to the highest bidder as if she were an object. And despite the fact that the dowry is for the wife, this future union would be to the benefit of the suitor because Bianca’s love was essentially void in the arrangement.
Hitch describes his true intentions as a “Dating Consultant” to a distraught Sara.
In the movie, through coincidental circumstances Sara has discovered Hitch’s occupation as a romantic consultant for men, which she believes is a scam to help men seduce women. This scene emulates the honesty behind Hitch’s passion during a speed date activity, which coincidentally serves as the setting for his explanation. In perspective, the protagonist acts as a catalyst that helps men essentially disarm the protective nature women have, so as to genuinely love them. Suitors in The Taming of the Shrew, such as Petruchio, are the embodiment of sleazy men that ultimately led to how women view men in pursuit of their female counterparts.
At the conclusion of the movie, Hitch comes to a more profound comprehension of his love for Sara and expresses it to her. The same can not be said for Petruchio and his wife Katherine, who seemingly relinquishes to the submissive role of a wife. Unlike the film, Shakespeare leaves the play’s conclusion to audiences interpretation of whether the shrew (Katherine) was actually tamed by her husband or whether she enacted a ploy. Either way, these texts reflect that the love apparent in both individuals will prevail over relationships that are built upon dishonesty and conceit.
Changing of the Boo
An exploration of male/female expectations in relationships in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and She’s All That
In Shakespeare's The Taming of The Shrew, where Petruchio, a wealthy bachelor who will do whatever it takes to find a rich wife, meets Katherine, a beautiful and unmarried, but rude and sharp-witted daughter of a wealthy lord. Bianca, Katherine's younger sister, is the object of every suitor's desire. Beautiful and wealthy, kind and sweet, Bianca has a line of suitors waiting for her father marry off Katherine before they can wed Bianca. Two of Bianca's suitors strike a deal with Petruchio, stating that he will tame and marry Katherine for money, in order to free up Bianca. The girls' father, Baptista, is ecstatic that a suitor has finally arrived to take Katherine, and orders them to be wed immediately. Since the play was released, there have been countless retellings and versions, and many take from the story directly.
The timeless tale of a man conquering and changing a woman who is inherently different is still used in movies today, shown in the 1999 romantic comedy, She's All That. In an attempt to regain status after his popular girlfriend dumps him, a popular high school jock, Zack, takes a bet offered by his friend Dean, wherein he has 6 weeks to make the girl of Dean's choice into prom queen. The girl picked is Laney, an artistic and intelligent social outcast who is known only for her love of art and her glasses. Zack has 6 weeks before prom to turn her into prom queen and reassure his status.
Romantic comedies have always changed the way society perceives romance. From early depictions of romance, such as the works of Shakespeare, love was depicted as something to live, or die for. The dramatic plays included timeless love stories, often with the play's leading man courting and winning a woman's heart. Each heroine is portrayed as the social outcast, out-shined by a more popular female. However, when the hero courts them, the difference is that Katherine is not given a choice. Both Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and the 1999 romantic comedy, She’s All That, show the differences in male and female roles in relationships. Due to the differences in time period and culture, Laney is able to decide her own future where Katherine is not. Though societal change has made women more able to decide their own future, women being molded to shape the desires of men is still an ongoing theme in romantic pop culture.
"I can, Petruchio, help thee to a wife
With wealth enough, and young and beauteous,
Brought up as best becomes a gentlewoman.
Her only fault, and that is faults enough,
Is that she is intolerable curst”
(Act 1, Scene 2, lines 65-70)
In this quote Hortensio, a suitor to Bianca, is striking a deal with Petruchio. Bianca’s many suitors are anxious to win her, and this can only be achieved after Katherine has been wed. After Petruchio makes it clear that he’ll marry any woman with wealth, regardless of her personality or looks, Hortensio and the other suitors see the perfect opportunity to marry off the cursed Katherine. Despite her reputation as a shrew, Katherine still wants to be married like her sister. Men’s refusal to marry her this late in life is not only embarrassing for her and her family, but also gives her less and less options for the future. At this point, Katherine’s father has no qualms about giving her off to the first man willing to pay a good dowry.
Similarly, in She’s All That, the men of the story decide the terms of the relationship.
In this scene in She’s All That, Zack Siler accepts a bet that he can turn any girl at school into prom queen. Zack accepts this bet after his popular and beautiful girlfriend Taylor dumps him. He becomes eager to prove his reputation to himself, his friends, and his ex. Laney is picked out of the crowd after falling and dropping all of her books and art supplies. It is clear from her presence in this scene that she is a social outcast, and a person who Zack’s friends would never normally associate themselves with. Soon after meeting Laney, Zack sees her fierce intelligence and discovers that she, too, avoids his crowd of friends. The portrayal of both of the central women in the stories show that they are not the type of girl that these men are supposed to go for. Both women do not conform to the expectations of their time and therefore must be changed by the men.
"For I am he born to tame you, Kate,
And bring you from a wild Kate to a Kate
Conformable as other household Kates."
(Act 2, Scene 1, lines 291-293)
When Petruchio first meets Katherine, he makes his intentions clear. This quote is spoken in his first conversation with her, making it clear that he is attempting to change her. He uses the nickname Kate as a demeaning expression aimed at claiming her as his own. In an earlier line, she had deliberately told told him not to call her Kate, but he persisted, making the name a symbol of his superiority over her. To Petruchio, Katherine is a possession to flaunt, and one that should behave respectably. Regardless of her features before meeting him, Petruchio believes he can change any woman into the quiet, courteous, and obedient wife that was expected of that time (much like Katherine’s sister, Bianca). Katherine is not given a choice in her taming, nor her wedding to Petruchio, because of the same, limiting expectations.
In She’s All That, Zack imposes a similar change on Laney.
On their first date together, Zack had already begun to shape Laney into prom queen. Though doing it discreetly, Zack drops hints of how Laney could improve herself and her appearance. He does this through seemingly complementary means, like commenting on how beautiful her eyes are, or citing her “potential”. These are all steps towards her becoming the prettiest and most popular girl in school, like his ex-girlfriend Taylor. The second screenshot shows Laney post transformation, without her glasses and long hair. In this pivotal scene, Zack looks at her in awe. This is arguably the beginning of his true feelings for her. Unlike Katherine, Laney goes along with her transformation more willingly, and begins to enjoy Zack’s company after his persistent interest.
The end result of each transformation is dramatically different. In Taming of the Shrew, Katherine is successfully “tamed” by Petruchio after chiding her disobedient sister for not coming when her husband calls her. In She’s All That, on the other hand, Taylor is crowned prom queen, despite Laney’s popularity. After saving Laney from the sexual advances of his friend Dean, Zack confesses that his feelings were real, and they kiss. Though the 1999 film ends on a slightly more modern note, the central themes of deception and change are at play in both productions. Because of his reputation as the most popular guy in school, Zack believed he could turn any girl into prom queen, and his vision for Laney was that of his ex-girlfriend, Taylor. Zack successfully changes Laney into the type of girl that suits his needs, and makes her previously abject attitude toward his circle of friends vanish into love for him. The portrayal of both women shows the dominance we perceive men to hold in romantic relationships, and the level of consideration for the woman’s thoughts and desires.
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.
(Comparing “The Taming Of The Shrew” and “The Other End of The Line” )
Parents always want what’s best for their children, especially when it comes to marriage. Many parents feel that they should choose who their children marry. This may be a family tradition or a way to insure their children are financially safe. Even if parents don’t chose who their children marry they still give want to give their blessing. This is clearly shown through the play “The Taming of The Shrew” by Shakespeare. Baptista has two daughters, the oldest is Katherine and the youngest is Bianca. Bianca, being younger and tamer than Katherine, gets the most suitors. Were as Katherine viewed as a bad-tempered shrew doesn’t get any suitors, still her father wants her to get married first. The only difference between Baptista's decision in who his daughter marry is that Katherine can marry for love whereas Bianca will marry for financial stability. In the 2008 movie “The Other End Of the Line” the main character Priya’s father does the same thing.
Priya works at a credit card call center in India, at this center she has to pretend to be an American girl named Jennifer from California. One of her clients is Granger Woodruff, who makes commercial for a hotel in San Franciscan. As they talk on the phone she finds out more about him and the American things that he likes to do. For example his friend is getting married and Granger is setting up one last adventure for him. One thing that interest Priya is adventure, but there is only one problem her father. He hates her job and thinks she should have a regular job. Not only is he pressuring her to change her job but is also pressuring her to get married to the man he chose.
Both Baptista and Priya’s father have the same idea to chose who their daughters marry but they had different ways of dealing with the suitors. Take for example Katherine she had the choose to marry for love, while Priya had to marry because it was what her father wanted. These text reveal that fathers have the best interest for their daughters but they don’t realize when they are unhappy, which pushes their daughters to make distracted decisions.
“Baptisia: I know not what to say, but give me your hands. God send you joy, Petruchio. Tis’ a match.”
(Act 2/Scene 1/Line 337)
In the following part of the book Baptista is excitedy allowing Petruchio to marry Katherine. Katherine on the other hand is not so excited. Before Baptista walked into the room Katherine and Petruchio were arguing, Petruchio was constantly trying to compliment Katherine while she shot down each attempt. But once Baptisia came into the room Petruchio claimed that they were in love, even though Katherine animatedly told her father they weren't. Her father ignored her protest and allowed Petruchio to marry Katherine.
Katherine’s problem is similar to Priya’s. Priya’s father has chosen a good family for Priya to marry into but first he makes Priya meet the family. Once Priya meets the man she is suppose to marry she notices they have nothing in common. Priya wants to travel and move to a different house. While the man she has to marry wants to stay in his mother's house and doesn’t want to travel anywhere. Like Katherine, Priya doesn’t want to marry the man her father choose.
Both fathers want what’s best for their daughters so they pressure their daughters into marrying someone they don’t love. The only difference is that Katherine gets married to Petruchio and changes who she is. While Priya won’t compromise her happiness and dreams.
Quote 2 From the Play:
“Lucentio: I have it, Tranio.
Tranio: Master, for my hand, Both our inventions meet and jump in one
Lucentio: Tell me thine first.
Tranio:You will be a school master. And undertake the teaching of the maid: That’s your device.”
(Act 1/Scene 1/Line 191-198)
In this quote Lucentio is creating his plan with his servant Tranio to pretend to be a schoolmaster, Cambio, to woo Bianca and get closer to her. Lucentio has to pretend to be someone else because Bianca’s father Baptista isn’t allowing the suitors to get close to Bianca until Katherine is married off.
Lucentio’s use of deception is similar to Priya’s but Priya is using deception as a means of an adventure.
In this scene from “ The Other End Of The Line” Priya is at her job at the credit card center. Her job is to provide credit card assistance, if there are unusual charges to inform the owner. While she talks to her client, and soon love interest, Granger she hears about the things he does, like spend money in himself. What catches her interest the most is when he mentions that he is throwing one last adventure for his friend. After hearing about Granger’s finally adventure for his friend she decides she wants an adventure before she gets married to a man she doesn’t. She travels to meet Granger as Jennifer, her fake identity, at the hotel he is staying at. But once she gets there she doesn’t have the courage to meet Granger, until he accidentally falls into her, she then proceeds to introduce herself as Priya not Jenifer. Her father’s constant pressure to marry a man she doesn’t pushes Priya to want to leave and have one last adventure before she is forced into marriage.
The “The Taming Of the Shrew” and “The Other End Of the Line” are very similar. Both Lucentio and Priya use deception to get what they want. Also like Katherine, Priya is being forced into a loveless marriage. Though the “The Taming Of the Shrew” and “The Other End Of the Line” are similar in many ways they are also very different. Unlike “The Taming Of the Shrew”, Priya’s father learns that Priya can’t be forced into a marriage because she has too many dreams and already loves Granger. He soon accepts that and doesn’t force her into marriage. In the end of both the play and the movie the couples ended up together.
Taming of Love
“Taming of the Shrew” and “13 going on 30” are similar in many ways. The characters in both movie and play act the same way about love and relationships. Petruchio and Jenna are both trying to win their lovers’ love but in their own ways. Jenna, the main protagonist in “13 going on 30” is not only trying to win her best friend back for all the cruel things she did to him back in highschool, but gain his love back before he marries another girl. While Petruchio loves Katherine he has some trouble winning it over because of her resistance. These two texts reflect the belief that No matter who a person is with, if they have true love, they will go to extremes to win them over.
In Shakespeare's taming of the shrew Katherine is portrayed as the non social and difficult daughter. When she is told she will marry, she does not take it very well. In Act 1. Sc. 1 lines 104-106 Katherine says “Why, and I trust I may go too, may I not? What, shall I be appointed hours as though, belike I knew not what to take and what to leave? Ha!” She is answering her father,Baptista, when he tells her that she needs to stay and talk with her possible husbands. In this quote from the book Katherine is mad at her father because he said that she has to marry before her sister. But Katherine doesn’t want to be married, she wants nothing to do with marriage.
In “13 going on 30” Jenna realizes her love for her former best friend, Matt a little too late. When she finds out that he is to be married she doesn’t handle it very well. But she was also oblivious to realize that when she was 13, Matt had feelings for her. While Matt has clearly moved on, Jenna acts like a child to win him back, but what she didn’t know was that Matt was secretly falling for her again.
In this scene of 13 going on 30 Jenna is trying to understand her feelings for Matt and the same for him. Matt is to be married in a week to a different girl and Jenna doesn’t like the idea of her “best friend” getting married to another woman.
Katherine and Petruchio learn to deal with each other over time. Even though in the beginning of “Taming of the Shrew” Katherine wanted nothing to do with any guy or so she thought. In the end of of Act. 5 SC. 2 lines 152-195 Katherine goes on a rant saying “Fie,fie! Unknit that threat’ning unkind brow, And dart not scornful glances from those eyes To wound thy lord,thy king, thy governor… And place your hands below your husband’s foot; In token of which duty, if he please, My hand is ready, may it do him ease.” In this rant to her sister and other wives that are at this social Katherine comes out with her true feelings toward Petruchio. Katherine was only afraid that she wouldn’t find the right person for her to marry. She realized that if she stopped being difficult and actually let someone to be there for her she will have the one thing she was afraid of never finding. Love.
The day of Matt’s wedding Jenna shows up confessing her love for Matt and how if she could turn back time she would. Well Jenna did turn back in time and fixed everything that she said that she wanted to fix. From hanging out with the wrong group to sticking with your best friend since the 5th grade Jenna realized she had what she wanted and she liked the way it was going for her.
If you play your cards right and you stick together you can have a great relationship. Both Petruchio, Matt, and Jenna have the same goal, to get the girl, but for Jenna it’s to get the guy. Katherine learned that she does want to be married and Petruchio was there by her side to help her realize it even though it wasn’t always the nicest way for him to help her out. Jenna learned that you don’t always need to be friends with the popular kids to get what you want. In both “Taming of the Shrew” and “13 going on 30” these characters realize that no matter who a person is with, if they have true love, they will go to extremes to win them over.
Is Who Someone Marries their Parent’s Choice?
Comparing “Taming the Shrew” to “Monster in Law”
Shakespeare's play “Taming of the Shrew” shows that parents have played a major role in the arrangements of their children's marriages for hundreds of years. In “Taming of the Shrew,” Baptista takes control of the courtship between his two daughters and men, and considers it a responsibility to find each a husband who is a good match for them. In the 2005 movie “Monster in Law,” a parent feels a similar responsibility over their child’s wedding, except in the movie, it is the mother, Viola, who wishes to break an engagement between her son and a woman she sees as an unfit match.
While Baptista and Viola both share the desire to make sure their children marry good people for them, the level of control they have varies. Baptista is able to choose which men his daughters can even meet, and completely manipulate the match from meeting, to engagement, to wedding. Meanwhile, Viola does not even find out about her son’s fiancee, Charlie, until the same day her son, Kevin, proposes. Baptista takes action before his daughters are engaged while Viola is not able to influence her son’s decision until after the proposal. These two texts reflect that while parents no longer believe that they have control over who their children meet, propose to, and marry, they still consider it their responsibility to ensure their children make what they believe to be good matches.
“That like a father you will deal with him and pass my daughter a sufficient dower, the match is made, and all is done. Your son shall have my daughter with consent.”
(Act 4, Scene 4, lines 45-48)
Here, Baptista is discussing a marriage contract with a merchant pretending to be the father of a man pretending to be Lucentio. Lucentio wishes to marry Baptista’s younger daughter, Bianca. Baptista is willing to allow the marriage because he believes the dowry this (supposed) father and son can offer to his daughter will make the other man’s son a good match for Baptista’s daughter. Baptista would not knowingly allow his daughter to be betrothed without making a good deal on a dowry. Notice that Baptista says this in a way that implies it is the other father’s responsibility to provide his son with a “sufficient dower” in order to marry.
Viola also sees economic reasons as a critical factor in whether Charlie is a good match for her son Kevin, but Charlie and Kevin are already engaged.
In this scene from “Monster in Law,” Viola complains about Charlie to Viola’s friend Ruby. Viola states, “My son the brilliant surgeon is gonna marry a temp.” Then, after some screaming and going to upstairs to lie down, Viola complains, “She is going to destroy him. It is so clear. She’s got no money, no career goals. She was just waiting for a rich innocent to step right into her path.” Viola does not see Charlie as a good match for Kevin because while he makes a significant amount of money from a successful job, Charlie is at a lower class part time job. Viola even assumes Charlie is partly marrying Kevin because he is wealthier than Charlie.
In order for Kevin to have become a surgeon, Viola must allow Kevin to live independently. Kevin would not have been able to study to be a surgeon and then work at a hospital without being able to make large choices without his mother. This is very different from the lifestyle of Baptista’s daughters, who cannot travel somewhere or meet with people without their father knowing, even though they are adults. By giving adult children the freedom to leave home and have careers, parents have given up the right to control who their children meet like in the times of Shakespeare. This allowed Kevin to meet and date Charlie without his mother knowing or approving. However, parents such as Viola still consider it as a part of parenting to make sure their children make good long term choices in life, such as picking an appropriate person to marry. This belief causes Viola to interfere with the wedding, but not ban the marriage altogether.
“Your father hath consented that you shall be my wife, your dowry ‘greed on, and will you, nill you, I will marry you.”
(Act 2, Scene 1, lines 284-286)
In this quote, Petruchio is speaking to Baptista’s daughter, Katherine, after making a deal with her father that Petruchio can marry Katherine if he has her love, and negotiating a dowry. Petruchio fakes the love, but honors the rest of the deal with Baptista before marrying Katherine. Petruchio is so confident on the deal he made with Baptista that he tells Katherine he will marry her whether she likes it or not. This eliminates Katherine from making decisions over her own marriage.
Similarly, Charlie makes a deal with Viola before the wedding, but not over a dowry.
Charlie is about to call off the wedding when Viola convinces Charlie to speak to her alone. Viola tells Charlie, “Don’t blow your chance for happiness. You’ve never needed my approval. He’s loved you from the very beginning. And I promise I will get out of the way and let the two of you be happy."
“That’s not what I want. I mean, there just has to be some boundaries, Viola,” Charlie replies.
“I can do boundaries! I don’t love boundaries but I can do them,” Viola says,
“How about the number of times you call Kevin a day? Can we limit that, to, like, one,” Charlie asks.
“Oh, I need at least four minimum,” Viola counters.
“He’s 35 years old.”
“Deal,” Viola settles.
In this deal, the genders are switched. Instead of the father negotiating with the groom, the mother negotiates with the bride. Also, Viola is now persuading Charlie to marry Kevin due to Charlie giving up, instead of being a future spouse persuading a parent. The deal is over how much Viola will influence Charlie and Kevin’s relationship in the future, instead of a dowry. Viola now accepts Charlie because she realizes Charlie makes Kevin happy. Viola even gives up her right to approve the match in order to make her son happy. Now, it is more about what the children want then what the mother wants.
Since Viola is the person who makes sure the marriage happens in the end, it shows parents still feel responsible for ensuring each of their children have a good marriage. However, happiness now is a bigger factor than economic status when parents consider a match. Katherine is married to an abusive, yet rich husband. Meanwhile, Kevin marries Charlie in order to have a joyful love, even if Charlie is not as wealthy as him. While Viola did not control as much of the marriage situation as Baptista, the new couple actually wants Viola to be involved in the process. If Charlie’s parents had not died when she was young, they would likely be just as involved in the wedding.
Comparing the Shakespeare play, “Taming of the Shrew,”
to modern day movie, “50 First Dates.”
By Ari Haven
In the Shakespeare classic, Taming of the Shrew, and the modern romantic comedy movie, 50 First Dates, “love at first sight” is a common theme portrayed between the main characters of both texts. The two texts also show characters that attempt to keep the relationships from happening, but the soon learn that the power of love at first sight overpowers everything else. Taming of the Shrew shows Lucentio, a young man sent off to attend college, falling in love with Bianca, a young maiden from a rich family, the first time he sees her in town. Baptista, Bianca’s father, warns Lucentio that Bianca is not available for courting, but Lucentio doesn’t care. He decides then and there that he cannot survive without Bianca and, with a servant’s help, devises a plan to marry her.
Similarly in 50 First Dates, Henry, a marine veterinarian working in Hawaii, is enchanted by a young woman’s beauty the first time he sees her at a local diner. We soon find out that the young women’s name is Lucy, and that she suffers from short term memory loss due to a car crash that she was in ears before. Lucy wakes up every morning thinking that it is October 13th, the day of the accident, and lives a normal day. Every night, her memory resets, and she doesn’t remember anything from the previous day.
After their first encounter at the diner, Henry can’t stop thinking about Lucy. Lucy’s father and brother tell Henry to stay away from Lucy and the diner in which they first met, but Henry can’t give her up. So, he too devises a plan to see Lucy everyday even though her father won’t allow it. Eventually, Henry earns the respect of Lucy’s family, and works with them to help Lucy understand what happened to her. Everyday Henry explains who he is, and has to convince Lucy to fall in love with him (even though they are married). Although, the task of getting her to fall in love with him everyday is not hard because there was love at first sight when they first met.
Both texts reflect that if someone interferes with love at first sight, the two people in love will just find another way to be together. This shows that whether lovers are in the Shakespearean era or modern day, the time period does not affect the strength of love.
“I perish, Tranio, if I achieve not this young modest girl.”
(Act. I, Scene I, Lines 157-158)
This simple declaration of “love or death” from Lucentio speaks for itself. After seeing Bianca for the first time, he turns to his servant and dramatically states that he will “perish” if he doesn’t have Bianca. It is indeed love at first sight when Lucentio sees Bianca. This is a testament to the idea that a person in love will go great lengths in order to be with the person they love. Even though Lucentio has only seen Bianca for a few moments at this point in the play, he decides that the only thing that will stop him from marrying Bianca, is death. Lucentio and Bianca’s “love at first sight” can be compared to the first time Henry and Lucy met.
As shown in the scene above, Henry’s first interaction with Lucy is a pleasant one. After seeing Lucy from across the diner and falling in love with her beauty, Henry walks over to her says hello. Lucy and Henry start chatting, and she invites him to sit down with her. They spend the morning sitting in the booth (pictured above), getting to know each other. She can’t help but fall in love with him, and he with her, so Lucy invites him to breakfast again the next day. In the time before he sees her again the next day, Henry is told by Lucy’s family and friends not to see Lucy again because she suffers from short term memory loss, and will not remember who he is the next day. He tries to stay away, but very quickly realizes he cannot live without her.
The initial interaction between Henry and Lucy differs from the interaction between Lucentio and Bianca because Bianca and Lucentio did not actually talk to each other and Lucy and Henry talked and laughed together for the whole morning. However, it can be argued that both periods of time and interactions are considered love at first sight because it was the first time both Henry and Lucentio saw Lucy and Bianca. Whether they met for a few moments or a few hours, the power of love will not let anything get in the way.
“You will be a schoolmaster and undertake the teaching of the maid: that’s your device.”
(Act I, Scene I, Lines 196-198)
This quote shows Lucentio’s effort at courting Bianca through a mischievous plot. They overhear Baptista saying that Bianca needs a teacher so she stays focussed on her studies instead of flirting with men. Lucentio pretends to be a school teacher in order to spend time with Bianca. This is his way of avoiding Baptista’s ban on courting Bianca. In this plan, Lucentio would get to “woo” Bianca in a private setting while pretending to teach her, without her father finding out. The optimistic outcome of their crazy plan ends up coming true. After Lucentio reveals his true identity to Bianca, she falls in love with him. They tell Baptista about their relationship only after their secret wedding, and he accepts their relationship because his daughter is happy. The “enchantment” of love causes Lucentio to do anything he needs in order to be with Bianca. Similarly, in 50 First Dates, Henry comes up with a plan to spend time with Lucy without her father knowing.
Lucy’s father warns Henry to stay away from Lucy and the diner where Lucy and Henry first met. To get around Lucy’s father’s rule, Henry instead meets Lucy everyday on the side of the road while she is on the way to the diner. Since Lucy doesn’t remember who Henry is due to her memory loss, Henry comes up with a new plan each day to get Lucy to stop. One day he pretends there is road work so that Lucy has to stop. Another day he gets his friend to beat him up so that Lucy will stop and help him. Everyday Lucy stops to talk to him for one reason or another, and everyday he reintroduces himself to her. Although she does not remember him the next day, he gets a chance to talk to her and learn more about her each day and that is what he really wants. Eventually, Lucy’s father and brother find out about Henry’s scheme. Instead of stopping him, they let him continue seeing Lucy because they realize that Lucy is always happier on the days she talks to Henry.
A large difference between Henry and Lucy’s relationship and Lucentio and Bianca’s relationship is that Lucy’s father found out before they got married and still allowed the relationship to happen. While Baptista didn’t find out about Bianca and Lucentio’s relationship until after they got married, and it is unclear whether he would have allowed it if he found out earlier.
In the end, both Henry and Lucentio do not let anything get in the way of the person they love. They both weave a plan in order to get closer to Lucy or Bianca. The fathers of both Bianca and Lucy realize that they cannot get in the way of love, and that Bianca is happier with Lucentio and Lucy is happier with Henry even if it is not what they originally wanted for their daughters. This shows us that no matter what time period people in love live in, not many people will get in the way of love if it makes the people they care about happ. Love is timeless and will continue to conquer all.
Taming of the Shrew (play) and Guess Who (movie)
The movie Guess Who is about a white man about to marry a black woman, and the woman’s dad disapproves of the relationship and is trying to stop the wedding. The play The Taming of the Shrew is about a relationship between a man named Petruchio and a woman named Katherine, and the marriage is one Katherine is forced into by Petruchio. The relationship was not one where Katherine was happy due to being forced into the marriage. These two texts show that Relationships used to be forced and have women submit to men, but now it is the other way around because dad’s don’t control marriages, women have more rights and agency in their personal lives than they did hundreds of years ago, and now men are constantly trying to meet and exceed their standards instead of it being the other way around.
The play has a forced marriage. Petruchio wanted to have a lot of money, and Katherine and her family did have a lot of money. Petruchio then figured out how to marry her. He offered to marry her. Once she said no, he went and got the dad’s permission to marry Katherine.
"Quote from Play"
“But sun it is not, when you say it is not, and the moon changes even as your mind.” -Katherine
(Act 4, Scene 5, line numbers 22 to 23)
This is Katherine complying with her husband Petruchio. Petruchio is very controlling and dominant towards Katherine, and was trying to tame her. Katherine acts crazy at times, and Petruchio was trying to fix that. Eventually, Katherine acts calm and submissive towards Petruchio, and that quote right there proves it. She is saying that he is always right even when he is wrong. That is literally saying that she will not argue with him at all. This is now showing the power that Petruchio has over her at this moment. It is clear that Katherine is unhappy, and is trying to deal with this forced marriage as best as possible. She wants to get out of it, but her husband and dad have all of the control. So unless Petruchio wants to leave her, she is stuck in the marriage.
IMAGE GOES HERE
In the movie, there is a plot of a Percy trying to stop a relationship. He does not like the fact that his daughter, Theresa, is dating a white man named Simon. Percy does not approve of it at all, and he starts hanging out with Simon to see whether he was crazy or not. The dad in the play, Baptista, was happy for the forced wedding and approved of Petruchio. He did everything he could to make that wedding happen. That was a huge difference between the dads. One is completely approving, and one is really upset about her daughter’s relationship. Plus, Theresa breaks up with In the movie, there is a plot of a Percy trying to stop a relationship. He does not like the fact that his daughter, Theresa, is dating a white man named Simon. Percy does not approve of it at all, and he starts hanging out with Simon to see whether he was crazy or not. The dad in the play, Baptista, was happy for the forced wedding and approved of Petruchio. He did everything he could to make that wedding happen. That was a huge difference between the dads. One is completely approving, and one is really upset about her daughter’s relationship. Plus, Theresa breaks up with Simon by choice. Percy wanted that to happen, but Theresa’s choice to break up with Simon was not a decision made by Percy. Katherine never had such freedom, since Baptista’s word was the final one. Theresa had full control over the situation.
“I know not what to say, but give me your hands. God send you joy, Petruchio. ‘Tis a match’”-Baptista
(Act 2, Scene 1, 337 to 338)
“No shame but mine. I must, forsooth, to be forced to give my hand, opposed against my heart”- Katherine
Act 3, Scene 2, 8 to 9
This is Baptista approving of his own daughter’s forced marriage to a man she clearly does not even like. Petruchio is happy due to the fact that he will also get Baptista and Katherine’s money. That is the entire reason he wanted to get married in the first place. So now, a relationship where there is no freedom has just been approved of. Katherine is clearly very angry, and she keeps on showing it. She wants nothing to do with Petruchio whatsoever, but must deal with him and the marriage due to her being powerless and having no rights.
IMAGE GOES HERE
This scene is very long, and takes places after the breakup of Theresa and Simon. It’s when the dad, Percy, goes to talk to Simon before he renews his wedding vow, because that was the day Percy and his wife, Marilyn, were supposed to have their wedding vows renewed. Percy finds out that Simon left his job because his boss was racist towards his interracial relationship. Percy finds that honorable, and says that he should try to get back with his daughter. He now approves of the relationship. Percy starts singing, and then Simon comes in and sings out of nowhere. He apologizes to Theresa, and they get back together, Percy announces their engagement, and Simon is now accepted as part of the family. But Theresa had a choice whether to accept Simon or not, unlike Katherine. The dad did not force Theresa to be in a relationship the way Baptista did to Katherine. And Simon had to prove to Theresa that he was worthy of a second chance. So, Theresa had all of the power.
What these works of art show that marriage and relationships should be things chosen by consent of both people, not by one man, and not even by somebody’s parents. There was a time where women had little to no power in relationships. That is also different now since the United states gives all genders equal rights. This has given women the power to control their relationships, and has made men need to submit to them. Guess Who takes place in 2005, while Taming of the Shrew takes place in the 1000s. Back in that time, there was no such thing as a woman having power and freedom over her own marriage and relationship. It was unheard of back in those days. Now women make many rules in relationships, as well as expectations. Now men are pressured to meet them, and pressured to be a good husband/boyfriend. The movie Guess Who proves that. So, the conclusion is that marriage has changed due to women having freedom, and the domination roles being reversed.
Comparing The Taming of the Shrew to Clueless
The movie “Clueless” is about the life of a rich highschool girl named Cher who is trying to find the right guy in a school full of people who don’t seem to meet her criteria. In the end, she realizes that the guy she overlooked in the beginning is the right person for her. In “The Taming of the Shrew”, a drunken man is lied to by a nobleman and is told that he is a nobleman as well. The drunken man believes this story and the real nobleman puts on a play for him. In the play, Petruchio marries Katherine and “tames” her because she is known to be a “loud-mouth”. In both the movie and the play, the characters have an idea of what they want their partners to be. They also have ideas on how each gender should act in the relationship. In “Clueless” and in “The Taming of the Shrew”, there are examples of male/female ideas of symbols and possession.
“For I am born to tame you, Kate,
And bring you from a wild Kate to a Kate
Comfortable as other household Kates.”
(Act 2, Scene 1, 291-293)
During this part of the play, Petruchio is telling his wife, Kate, that he is going to make her into the wife that he and society wants her to, a “comfortable” Kate. Petruchio sees Kate as someone he’s “born to tame”, like she’s some kind of animal. Wives back then were looked to as servants for their husbands, which means that the husband was in control or possession of the wife. Petruchio is making that happen by making Kate into the woman that she’s "supposed” to be.
During the movie, a new student comes to Cher’s school, named Christian. In Cher’s eyes, her is the perfect guy for her and tries everything in her power to try and get him to like her. Unlike the “The Taming of the Shrew”, Cher doesn’t feel the need to change Christian into the man she wants him to be like Petruchio did with Katherine. Even though Cher wanted Christian to be more romantic with her, she never expressed that to him or made him change in any way like Petruchio did.
“Say she rail; why, I'll tell her plain
She sings as sweetly as a nightingale.
Say that she frown; I'll say she looks as clear
As morning roses newly wash'd with dew.
Say she be mute and will not speak a word;
Then I'll commend her volubility,
and say she uttereth piercing eloquence.”
(Act 2, Scene 1, 164-170)
Before Petruchio entered Katherine’s room to win her over, he practiced what he was going to say outside her room. Looking at how their relationship was in the end and seeing what his only intentions were for marrying her, it’s safe to say that what he said wasn’t genuine. In society and even more back then, a man is supposed to ask a woman to marry them and a man is expected to be the “romantic” one to win over the woman. In this case, Petruchio didn’t really win over Kate, even though they got married. However, he did do what men were expected to do back then, which is a symbol of how much they love the woman. On the other hand, the woman is supposed to fall head over heels in love with the man, which clearly didn’t happen in this case either.
To win Christian over, Cher did everything she could to make him like her. In this scene, she invited him over her house for a “romantic” night. She did everything from changing her outfit multiple times, choosing the right lighting, trying to make cookies, and many other things to impress him. She expected him to be romantic with her as well, cuddling with her as they watched a movie and giving her his coat when she got cold. Unfortunately, he didn’t do any of these things because he was gay, but Cher did all of this because she really liked him. This is similar to “The Taming of the Shrew” because both Petruchio and Katherine tried to win over the people they wanted to be with. The roles were switched in the movie and the play, the woman being the one to impress the man, but there were still symbols that each gender was supposed to portray in both productions.
“The Taming of the Shrew” and “Clueless” both have examples of how men and women should act in a relationship. Both still have the underlying idea that men should be the provider and protector and women should be soft and listen to the men. In “Clueless”, this idea isn’t as prevalent as it is in “The Taming of the Shrew”. In both productions, the characters want their partners to be a certain way so they can play the roles that they are all supposed to follow. In “The Taming of the Shrew”, this was taken in a different direction with Petruchio trying to win over Kate but also seeing her a someone he owned and needed to train. In “Clueless”, Cher also tried to win over her crush Christian but didn’t expect him to change himself in any way. Both productions show how men and women should act in relationships in the past and in the present.
|Taming of the Shrew and 500 Days of Summer|
Relationships are often pictured as a man chasing after a woman he likes, and she falls right into his arms and they get married and live “happily ever after.” In “Taming of the Shrew,” a man named Petruchio chases a girl named Katherine. Katherine isn’t your average woman pictured in movies and fairytales, she is feisty and fights for what she believes in. Due to the time being, she is being forced to marry Petruchio even though she does not want to. In the movie “500 Days of Summer,” it is almost the same exact way. The main character, Tom, has spent his whole life searching for the woman of his dreams and to marry. He meets Summer. Summer doesn’t believe in love, and expresses that to Tom, but he doesn’t listen, they get into a highly romantic relationship, and she ends up leaving him heart broken. These two stories prove how women do not always have to fall for whichever man shows interest in them, that they are human and when they have the choice, they choose what they want and what is best for them in the long run. It depends on the societal rules of the time: Summer had the choice, Katherine did not because of how women were treated in those times.
“You lie, in faith, for you are called plain Kate, and bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst.”
(Act II, Scene I, Line 179-180)
Katherine meets her soon-to-be husband Petruchio for the first time, and it is not a pleasant experience for her. He forces his way to her, despite her constant disapproval of him. Amongst their bickering, this line shows the fact that Kate is known as a “curst” among the town. This is because she chooses what she wants instead of being weak and fragile as a woman was supposed to be at that time.
The way Summer is seen is almost the same way:
One of Tom’s coworkers see Tom staring at Summer. He warns him that he hears that she is a bitch and starts calling her degrading words such as a “skank.” Tom looks disappointed, replying “Why do the pretty girls think they can treat people that way?” This is because Summer has turned many guys down, not falling for their charm and choosing her own path. Because of her rejection of love and relationships, men cannot dominate her so therefore they look down upon her. In Taming of the Shrew, Katherine was looked down upon and called names by men because she stood up to them and rejected them if she wanted to. Both women, Summer and Kate, faced ridicule for making their own decisions and choosing what they want.
“Alas, good Kate, I will not burden thee, for knowing thee to be but young and light-” Petruchio
“Too light for such a swain as you to catch and yet as heavy as my weight should be.”
(Act II, Scene I, 196-199)
Petruchio persists on winning Kate over. He even goes on a high speed chase to get to her. She tells him over and over that she does not want him, but he does not care. He knows she is a woman and that he can easily dominate her and make decisions for her. He knew that eventually she would marry him anyways, since everyone wanted Kate to be married very soon and he already had her father's approval.
Summer is sitting and chatting with Tom and his friend. The friend asks Summer if she has a boyfriend. She replies no, and the two guys are shocked and start asking her if she is a lesbian. She says no, she just likes being alone. She claims she doesn’t believe in love and has never been in it. “There’s no such thing as love, just fantasy.” Tom still proceeds and falls in love with her anyways. In Taming of the Shrew, Katherine was rushed to get married. It was unusual to be her age and not have a husband. She never expressed that she did not want a husband, however, by her stubborn attitude towards the men who wanted her, it shows she wanted to find someone she actually wanted and was not going to settle for just anyone. Summer and Katherine were both, as the quote says, “too light too catch.”
“I see a woman may be made a fool,
(Act III, Scene II, 194)
Kate realises after marrying Petruchio that she was a fool. Although she did put up a great deal of resistance, her position as a woman resulted in what she did not want: to marry Petruchio. She is saying that if any women does not resist something that they don’t want at all, that they will end up getting it anyways.
Summer blatantly ends the entire relationship she had with Tom in one sentence: “I think we should end this thing.” Tom’s emotions and sadness are shown through this scene, he describes how well the relationship was going and how much he loves her and he knows that she is the one. Summer seems to be emotionless and careless, and compares their relationship to another relationship where a woman was murdered, her being the murderer. Tom’s emotions take over and he leaves the restaurant, while Summer yells, “Don’t go, you’re still my best friend!” Tom did not listen to Summer’s thoughts on love in the beginning, therefore he falls in love and she leaves him heartbroken. Summer and Kate’s resistance was blatant throughout both stories, however, both men did not listen to them.
Both Summer and Kate fight for what they want. They both allow themselves to make their own decisions on what they want and what is best for them. Although Kate obviously loses that fight, she still had her ideals on how she wanted her life to go. Kate and Summer both have a unique view on love for a woman to have: they do not need a man by their side. Even though at that time it was the norm to have a husband, Kate did not have one by her age. She denied every chance of having one because she did not like the person. Summer denied men, too, because she did not believe in love. Both women were ridiculed for crossing the boundaries of what they were supposed to feel towards love, which is the fairytale of dreaming about marriage and depending on husbands.
Giving their Sonny Side
Comparing The Taming of the Shrew and Big Daddy
In William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, there are certain attributes that the men must enact to court the women. The book follows around two suitors, Lucentio and Petruchio, who witness, utilize, and understand the expectations by which the two are expected to have at the time as they chase after a father’s daughters. The same can be said about the 1999 movie Big Daddy, which follows Sonny, a young man (played by Adam Sandler) who illegally adopts a child as his own. Sonny also has to deal with the expectations women have for him as a man. Both the suitors and Sonny have to show that they must make the first move towards the woman and also demonstrate that they can take care of the woman. However, since it is a different time period, the importance of romance varies. While the suitors do not need to be romantic to the women in order to woo them, Sonny has to share romantic moments with Layla for her to fall in love with him. Therefore, men have always known that they have certain standards and expectations they have had to meet in order to court women. However, these aspects, including romance, have evolved over time.
“Sir, list to me: I am my father’s heir and only son. If I may have your daughter to my wife, I’ll leave her houses three or four as good, within rich Pisa walls, as any one old Signior Gremio has in Padua, besides two thousand ducats by the year of fruitful land, all which shall be her jointure.” - Tranio as Lucentio.
Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 383-391.
In this scene, Tranio is disguised as Lucentio, acting as a potential suitor for a sweet, pretty young woman named Bianca while Lucentio pretends to be a school teacher. However, as shown in the quote before, he first has to prove his worth to her father and show that he can take care of Bianca. He makes the first move by coming to her house and showing interest in Bianca to Baptista, the father. In Big Daddy, Sonny also has to make the first move and prove that he can take care of Layla.
While in The Taming of the Shrew, Tranio (disguised as Lucentio) makes the first move and shows his worth in one scene and quote, the same cannot be said for Sonny in Big Daddy. In the first screenshot provided, Sonny is making his first move to Layla in the park. He uses his illegally adopted child to help find a way to talk to Layla. It is obvious she is into him, but does not want to make a commitment. Over time, they begin to spend more time together, as shown in the second screenshot. During these special times, Sonny works to demonstrate that he is responsible by showing that he can take care of Layla.
While both the book and movie show two similar ideas about the expectations that men know they must follow in order to successfully court a women, they also differ. In order to show that he could take care of Bianca, Tranio (disguised as Lucentio) had to go through Baptista first. He also had to prove that he can take care of Bianca in the future by showing off his wealth, as demonstrated in the quote above. Sonny also had to make the first move, but went straight to the woman, which shows the change in romance. Today, women have more agency and speak for themselves, unlike in Shrew, where the suitors went the father first.
In addition, just like in The Taming of the Shrew, wealth plays a large role in Sonny’s effort to court Layla. When they first meet, he is working in a toll booth once a week. His lack of ability to maintain a well paying job is a main reason why his former girlfriend, Vanessa, leaves him at the beginning of the movie. It is also cause of concern for Layla and her family. When they have their first kiss, Layla’s sister witnesses it and scolds Layla saying, “He’s dirty and he’s poor.” At the end, Sonny becomes a lawyer and marries Layla. Just like in The Taming of the Shrew, Sonny’s ability to show that he can find a reliable source of income finds him a wife.
“And therefore, if thou know 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, she moves me not, or not removes at least affection’s edge in me, were she as rough as are the swelling Adriatic seas.” -Petruchio
Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 68-75
In Shrew, Petruchio is explaining to Hortensio, a friend, his ideas on courtship. At face value, the quote is showing how Petruchio views Katharine. He doesn’t care if she is nice or beautiful or if she is romantic-- all he cares about is money. However, this also shows the expectations that women have for men in Shrew does not include romance. Petruchio knows that he merely has to show an interest in Katharine and provide his wealth. Eventually, Petruchio goes on to court Katherine without showing much affection towards her. However, the opposite can be said about Sonny’s expectations as a man, seeking a wife.
In this scene, Sonny is enjoying a romantic scene with Layla. After going out to a fancy restaurant, Sonny and Layla have their first kiss under the stars of New York City, when he drops her off at her apartment. He understands that in order for him to woo Layla, he has to be romantic. This kiss and other instances, like while they’re sitting on the couch listening to music, shows his effort at romance.
However, in Shrew, the romance is not a necessity. As shown through Petruchio’s explanation about what women mean to him, and the fact that he was still able to court Katherine, shows its lack of importance. This is the opposite of what Sonny thinks he needs to do in order to court Layla. Therefore, he tries to have moments like the first kiss to show his romantic outreach and love for Layla. As times have since changed, Petruchio doesn’t need to do this to woo Katherine.
The play and the movie both show the expectations that men know they must meet in order to court women. However, some aspects have developed over time which helps us understand society’s attitudes towards courtship. As women have gained more and more rights over themselves, their relationships, and the world around them, the expectations have changed with them. In The Taming of the Shrew, the men had to first prove themselves to their desired women’s fathers, while today, they have to prove themselves straight to the women. Ultimately, these aspects have impacted the standard that men know they have to utilize, although many of the ideas still hold the same basis.
In the play Taming the Shrew the play suggests that romantic relationships are about achieving the status symbol of being an adult in society. In Taming the Shrew Katherine is described as a head strong girl that no one wants, because she is wild or shrew like. Petruchio wins her over with his wits and ends up marrying her, although his main plan is to tame his wife and rid her of her shrew like nature. In the 2004 movie Chasing Liberty there are the main characters with Anna Foster and Ben Calder are two characters in a complicated relationship where Anna is the president's daughter and must be protected, and Ben is a secret service agent, but Anna doesn’t know his true identity. Anna ditches the secret service agents and Ben must follow her to insure her overall safety and protection. On the surface, this plot may appear to have nothing to do with the story of “Shrew” One thing has become clear in analysing both Taming the Shrew and Chasing Liberty the fact that relationships are a part of achieving the status symbol of being an adult. As a result, teens want them, and for more than just having romance. Katherine and Anna share similar emotions and motivations in their stories. Katherine is held down by the expectations of her society. By what her father wants and prospective suitors who would be her husband. In contrast Anna is held down by her father's profession and his protectiveness, but wants to experience life on her own. Although both Katherine and Anna show the same craving for freedom, in order for women to be seen as adults in their societies they have to have “romantic” relationships.
"Quote from Play"
Act II, Scene 1; 905
Baptista Minola: Y'are welcome, sir, and he for your good sake;
But for my daughter Katherine, this I know,
She is not for your turn, the more my grief.
Petruchio: I see you do not mean to part with her;
Or else you like not of my company.
Baptista Minola: Mistake me not; I speak but as I find.
In the quote from Taming the Shrew Petruchio and Baptista are talking about Katherine. Petruchio starts off by saying what a lovely girl she is and all the wonderful things he has heard about her. Although Kathrine just had a fight with her sister and made a big commotion. The father keeps trying to downplay Katherine and persuade Petruchio differently, so that he won’t take interest in his daughter.
The parental relationship that Katherine shares with her father is very similar to Anna and her father's relationship in Chasing Liberty.
In the scene Anna’s parents are talking about understanding her and why she needed freedom. This is after she’s run away with a guy she thinks is a photographer. They discuss how she at least needs the illusion of freedom. Just like Baptisia they seek to control their daughters and limiting them from having certain things.
"Quote from Play"
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign, one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe,
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks, and true obedience,
Too little payment for so great a debt.
. . .
My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
My heart as great, my reason haply more,
To bandy word for word and frown for frown;
But now I see our lances are but straws,
Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
And place your hands below your husband’s foot,
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready, may it do him ease.
This scene happens at the end of the play, where Petruchio makes a bet with whose wife is more obedient and he wins the bet. This quote shows not only Katherine and Petruchio’s relationship, but how husband and wife relationships were viewed in that time period. When Katherine married Petruchio she got some freedom from her father. This relationship was the only way to achieve this freedom, because her father Baptista had the power to control her future. Although some would argue about giving her freedom to her husband Petruchio, but by looking at their relationship closely, it's a give and take relationship. She respects Petruchio as her husband. He gives her a freedom she could have could’ve never achieved with Baptista. When she married Petruchio instead being viewed as a kid Baptisias opinion of Kathrine changes, he thinks of her as a wife instead of a child.
In Chasing Liberty Anna’s father opinion about her age and what she is ready for changes overtime too.
In this scene Anna and Ben (The other romantic lead) have just reconnected after being separated when she was taken home. After Anna left Ben, her and her parents saw her heartbreak they started to trust her more and gave her more freedom. The relationship between Ben and Anna was seen as a life experience that she had grown from. So they gave her the freedom that she craved.
Society’s perception of what love is and how it should relate to relationships has been skewed into the area of fantasy and wishful thinking for many centuries, and art has always sought to satirize and critique this. For instance, while they may have been both written over 300 years apart, the classic Shakespearian comedy “Taming of the Shrew” and the 1977 Woody Allen movie “Annie Hall”, both examine to some extent the expectations of relationships and how those expectations can either tear relationships apart or bond the couple in question tighter together. Through their combined commentary, “Shrew” and “Annie Hall”, both in their similar and different approaches to tackling the nebulous theme of love, create stunning and contemporary insights on the predetermined expectations of relationships, how society has taught us they should be, how they actually are, and what they mean for both of the people involved.
Expectation is a broad term, so before we begin to compare and contrast these two pieces of media, we need to solidify what both are trying to say about the subject of expectation. “Shrew” was written during a time where men were expected to hold control over a marriage while the woman wasn’t so much as a person as a medal. She was a way to either show off prideful arrogance or attain money and land. This is reflected in the play. The two sisters: Bianca and Kate, aren’t so much courted because of love as they were because of interior motives from the suitors. The reader doesn’t so much see Bianca is being courted by her three suitors Gremio, Hortensio and Lucentio pursue Bianca because they love her as much as her land-renowned beauty is something to be won. The pitifulness of this venture is reflected in the play’s own genre, the comedic nature of the play is a way to reflect just how silly the whole situation is: that Bianca’s suitors disguise themselves as other people to win her love, or rely on dirty tricks so they can be the one’s to inherit Bianca’s wealth and land. It makes it all the more ironic and satisfying when the one who Bianca marries at the end of the play is Lucentio, the one suitor who impersonates a man(the literature teacher Cambio) who does not have money or family renowned to offer in exchange to Bianca’s father Baptista for Bianca’s hand.
As for Kate, her objectification is a little more obvious. Her suitor Petruchio only seeks to woo her initially for the money from her father, who in turn is also actively using Kate as a literal roadblock in order to get her married, not allowing for the more desirable Bianca to be married until Kate is first engaged. It’s in this sexist expectation of the time period that the play finds its most potent point, however. This is where the critique of the expectation of love is found in “Shrew”. The last scene of the play is a narratively integral culmination of the satire that Shakespeare has been building up until that point, and while it is true that the finale of “Shrew” is extremely interpretive, for the purpose of this paper, we will interpret it as it relates to the theme.
“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.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?”
-Kate(Act V, Sc 2)
Kate’s passionate monologue at the end of the play is essentially complete contradiction of how she has acted throughout the entirety of “Shrew”. What she is saying here is contrary to her beliefs about the relationship dynamics between man and wife should work, and neither is she simply repeating hammered in ideals from her newlywed Petruchio. Petruchio after all, has been one of the less misogynist people we’ve met in the play, since he’s mostly just here for the money and doesn’t directly give Kate power over the marriage, but not exactly taking it away from her either. Rather, his aptitude to leave her to fend for herself during their honeymoon suggests that he completely understands Kate’s strength and will, but just needs to show her that such an attitude will only drive people away, so she best calm a bit. So, if not Petruchio to who Kate delivers this speech, then who? The answer, as well as who Shakespeare was mocking in “Shrew”, is simply the audience, and by extension the reader. Though it could be read one way or another, “Shrew”could be regarded as a biting commentary on the unequal gender-dynamics of the time, playing up the stupidness of it for laughs, before ending it with a speech that can easily be seen as completely false given what the audience have seen throughout the play. And, just to spit in the face of those who may be taking the speech seriously, Shakespeare has given the most important, longest and most thematically significant speech, the last grand monologue before the curtain drops… to a woman. It’s a combination of thematic comedy and tonal identity, that shows just how much expectations towards marriage have changed during the centuries. It ends the play on a note saying that while society may still hold these sexist expectations, Kate and Petruchio know it not to be true, though that won’t stop them from holding a mutual understanding of how they’re being perceived by other, and exploiting that expectation to win the bet of the play’s last scene.
Annie Hall, on the other hand, takes on an expectation much more relevant to modern society and marriage as a whole, and the whole affair is decidedly much less upbeat than the comedic “Shrew”. Tackling the modern expectations of how relationships should be right now rather than the sexist ideals of Shakespeare’s time, Annie Hall questions whether happiness necessarily constitutes whether two people are in love. In the modern day world, happiness for both parties is in any expectation for marriage or relationship, but Annie Hall directly challenges this notion.
In this quiet scene in a bookstore, the protagonist of Annie Hall: Alvy, a neurotic comedian, explains his philosophy of life to the titular female lead. According to Alvy, in life, you’re either horrible or miserable. If you’re horrible you’re either terminally ill of psychically disabled, so if you’re neither of those things, you should be grateful to be miserable. It’s an extremely negative outlook on life as a whole, and while it’s one that only Alvy seems to hold in the movie, it’s an outlook that the movie seems to want to transfer to the audience. Life is a miserable experience, and so by extension, are relationships. But just because life and relationships are horrible, that doesn’t mean they still don’t hold some kind of value.
The conclusion of both media pieces ultimately hinges on whether the couples of “Shrew” and “Annie Hall” reject or deny the expectations about love and marriage that have till that point driven the narrative. In “Shrew”, both Petruchio and Kate have defied the sexist expectations of the time, and as a result, while they may not be in love with one another depending on how the dialogue is interpreted, they are certainly both are happy at the end of the play. They hold each-other in a certain amount of respect, and the reader can gather that their relationship, even if it was not romantic, still persevered long after the last scene.
“Come, Kate, we’ll go to bed.
We three are married, but you two are sped.
[To Lucentio] ‘Twas I won the wager, though you
hit the white,
And being a winner, God give you good night”
-Petruchio(Act V, Sc 2)
In this quote, Petruchio lays out why exactly he thinks he is the “winner” at the end of the play. Though Lucentio has won the jewel of the play: Bianca, the ultimate symbol of purity and “victory” throughout the plan, Petruchio knows that his relationship, built on a bedrock of mutual understanding rather than the sneaky underhand tactics that Lucentio stooped too, will ultimately prove more sustainable. This again, is shown by Shakespeare in the play. When the men make a bet to see which of their wives will come first when called, it is only Kate who comes to Petruchio, and not only that, but drags the non-obedient Bianca by the ear along with her. This could be seen as Kate being fully indoctrinated into the gender politics of the time, but more likely, it’s to show that the woman and men who built their marriages on the norm, and by extension, expectations of the time will not have a healthy, mutually respected relationship.
On the other half of the coin, Annie Hall shows how relationship dynamics falter when both sides of the relationships believe wholeheartedly in the romantic expectations of the time, which is in this case, that love equals happiness. Building up to the finale, Alvy and Annie have broken up and reconciled multiple times, but now that he’s about to lose Annie perhaps for good to a handsome music producer, Alvy flies to California to get her back. His attempt utterly fails, even an attempted marriage proposal, and he flies back to New York. The film closes on a slight fast-forward to chance meeting Alvy and Annie have back in New York, and it’s Alvy’s closing narration over this final scene that truly ties the thematic core of this piece together.
As the ending credits start to roll, Alvy describes an old joke he once heard. In the joke, the narrator tells a doctor that his brother believes that he is a chicken, and when the doctor asks the narrator why he doesn’t turn his brother in, the narrator says that he “needs the eggs”, which strikes a chord with Alvy about his experience with relationships. In Alvy’s opinion, while relationships may be chaotic and stupid and miserable, everyone still puts up with them because they “need the eggs”. This is a direct parallel to the film’s thematic message about happiness in relationships. While modern day expectations say that relationships should be happy, Annie Hall says that they are in reality, well… chaotic, stupid and miserable. But despite that, relationships still “give eggs”, that human connection that we call love, and the hurt is worth it. The ending of Annie Hall shows what happens when expectation about relationships get in the way of actual relationships, that that human connection crumbles.
Both “Shrew” and Annie Hall are critics of relationship expectations in terms of the time period they were both created. While they go about it different ways, both pieces of media agree that these expectations that society create around the concept of relationships destroy those same relationships. Proper relationships can only work if both parties look past the expectations created by society, and see their human connection for what they are eggs that worth harvesting despite the nasty stuff around them.
In The Taming of the Shrew, the plot revolves around Petruchio “taming” wild and angry Katharine to be a proper and decent wife as part of a challenge. Pat in Silver Linings Playbook does the same to Tiffany unintentionally by falling in love with her.
Though the methods that the two men use may seem different, the end result and the stereotypes the pieces carry out are very similar. Both men see possession over the women in their lives that they wish to date/marry, and both men end their journeys with a docile partner as a result of their actions, whether intentional or unintentional. The idea that women need to be fixed by a partner is perpetuated by both literature and media that portrays men as the changing force of a “troubled” woman’s life. He uses his tools of strength and affection to sedate her ways and convince her to act “normal”. Even though the movie has some more egalitarian themes because it is a more modern piece of work, both The Taming of the Shrew and Silver Linings Playbook show us that outspoken women are seen as something to be loved or taught how to be loved when they are incapable of doing so.
“I will be master of what is mine own./She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,/My household stuff, my field, my barn,/My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything./And here she stands, touch her whoever dare.” Act 3, Scene 2 (235-239)
In Shrew, Petruchio is a suitor from another land who arrives to purposefully tame and marry infamously untameable and always single Katharine. In this particular scene, Petruchio is announcing to a crowd the power that he has over Katharine, the woman who, as made clear to us, does not wish to marry him. Petruchio acts as if he deserves to own Katharine as both his wife and property. He demeans her by comparing her to objects and animals. He implies how obedient and inanimate she can be under his care. Here, Katharine is shown as something to be taught how to love because she is so “wild” she was previously incapable of doing so. The idea that a loud or rude woman is presented as an inanimate thing waiting to be taught love is sexist by nature.
The man in this scene is named Pat, and the woman Tiffany. They both have ambiguous mental illnesses and violent mood swings, and because of this they do not get along at first. But after meeting through a mutual friend and then establishing a complicated friendship, they manage to find some common ground through their honesty. Pat was imprisoned because he beat up a man that he caught his wife with. In this particular scene, he has recently been released a few days before and is out on a job when he runs into Tiffany. Here, he is explaining to Tiffany why it will work out when he meets up with his past wife, Nikki, again.
“Okay, yeah, we wanna change each other, but that's normal, couples wanna do that. I want her to stop dressing like she dresses, I want her to stop acting so superior to me, okay? And she wanted me to lose weight and stop my mood swings, which both I've done. I mean, people fight. Couples fight. We would fight, we wouldn't talk for a couple weeks. That's normal. She always wanted the best for me … our love's gonna be f---ing amazing.”
Pat acts as if he deserves to win back Nikki and that she should accept his advances, even after their separation was because of an explosion caused by his possession over her body. He sees Nikki as something that he must teach how to love. He implies she was incapable of loving him before he “improved” himself and vice versa. Though this may seem like a more egalitarian way of considering love (both partners must improve for the other), Pat still presents it as if the only reason they will ever be happy together in the future is because they both changed they way they looked/acted.
“Katharine the curst,/A title for a maid of all titles the worst.”
Act 1, Scene 2 (130-131)
In this particular scene, Grumio is speaking to Hortensio about Katharine, and how mad and difficult she actually is to handle. The implication that Katharine already had this nickname assigned to her in the past, since mentioning it is a point of humor. Katharine is obviously seen as a woman who does not fit the societal standards of female obedience, and therefore is labelled as “curst” and “the worst”. But we are shown later in the play that Katharine has always continued to act this way because of the contrast between her and her docile sister, Bianca. She even criticizes her father for not favoring her and instead giving Bianca all of the affection and good marriages. Katharine is a real person acting on real emotions, not a madwoman like she is made out to be.
In this scene, Tiffany has just finished opening up to Pat about her depressive sexual behavior after her husband died. Then, Pat is discussing the dinner they had with a mutual friend and whether his behavior there would impress Nikki if Nikki had been there. They are speaking about the opinion of the actual woman who held the dinner, Tiffany’s sister. Tiffany is telling Pat what her sister said about him.
“She said you were cool, but … you know.”
“No, I don’t know.”
“Sort of like, how you are … sort of like me.”
“Sort of like you? I hope to God she didn’t tell Nikki that.”
“Because it’s just not right. Lumping you and I together, I mean, it’s just wrong, and Nikki wouldn’t like that. Especially after all the sh-t you just told me.”
“You think I’m crazier than you.”
“Because … I mean, well, we’re different.”
Tiffany is shamed by Pat because Tiffany does not meet the societal standards for female sexual activity. Therefore, Pat treats her as if she is a mad person and unable to be seen as anything acceptable. This is especially true because the purpose of the conversation is for Pat to woo Nikki again, and he condemns Tiffany’s behavior as not something that would attract a partner. Again, we return to the standards set for single women who do not want to marry.
It is made clear that Tiffany is a real person acting on real emotions, not a madwoman like she is made out to be.
Pat is Petruchio and Tiffany is Katharine. Both Tiffany and Katharine are labelled as onry and untamed. Except in Playbook as opposed to Shrew, both Pat and Tiffany are tamed by each other instead of the man taming the woman on purpose. Pat makes that clear when he says, “The only way to beat my crazy was to do something even crazier. Thank you. I love you.” Still, there are underlying implications of Pat taming Tiffany by loving her, and by the end of both the movie and the book (Shrew), both women are passive. Both Tiffany and Katharine are shown as people who need to be loved, and then are taught how to love once it is obvious that they are “unable” to. These portrayals show us that society’s attitudes toward heteronormative courtship/dating are largely skewed. Women are not seen as equals in the relationship in relation to men. Instead, they are first seen as something to be edited in order to fit patriarchal expectations. The moment they express themselves, outspoken women are seen as something to be loved or taught how to be loved when they are incapable of doing so.