Why Did The Shrews Get Married?
In Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew," A man named Baptista is searching for possible husbands for his two daughters but he has a rule; his eldest daughter must get married first, however, everyone wants the younger daughter, Bianca, because the oldest, Katherine, is a bad-tempered woman, known as a shrew. A man named Petruchio steps in to marry Baptista's Katherine, not for love, but for money. Once she is married Bianca is open to suitors . Throughout the book, Katherine and Petruchio's relationship is tracked as she becomes calmer and actually obeys her husband.
In the movie, " Why Did I Get Married?" , marriages are put to the test when honesty is missing from relationships and deception is present. There are four married couples who go on a retreat every year to strengthen their relationships with their spouse and one another. When first arriving to the retreat, the couples' stereotypical titles are revealed. There's the strong couple, the crazy/arguing couple, the "normal" couple, and the distant couple.
The couple most similar to Katherine and Petruchio's relationship is the crazy/arguing couple, Marcus and Angela. Angela is a shrew like Katherine, but she remains a shrew even after she's married. Marcus doesn't attempt to "tame" her as Petruchio does, for the simple matter of different time periods. All that Petruchio did to Katherine such as starving her is now illegal in America. Marcus on the other hand argues with Angela, only to let her get her way in the end. She whines and complains about her husband's baby mother, with whom he is still secretly sleeping with. If Petruchio cheated on Katherine, it wouldn't have been such a big deal. Katherine didn't love him initially in the marriage since she was forced into it , so she more than likely wouldn't have cared too much about his infidelity. Besides, in those times, a woman was supposed to obey her husband and that is what was mostly enforced, not vice versa.
Although times have changed, deception in marriages always play a role in how strong the relationship is.
"Marry me so I mean, sweet Katherine, in thy bed…. father hath consented that you shall be my wife, you dowry ‘greed on. and will you, nill you, I will marry you"
(Act 2, Scene 1, 82-86 )
Petruchio deceived his wife. Before they were married he attempted to make her believe he was in love with her, and that was his reasoning for marrying her. He actually wanted financial power from their marriage, not her. Still a shrew at the time, Katherine turned him away but her stubbornness was no match for his persistence. His persona was presented as loving and admiral, but that’s not Petruchio’s actual characteristics. He also made Katherine believe her father already consented their marriage, which turn her against her own father for a short period.
While Petruchio’s deception started before marriage, Marcus’ began after.
Like Petruchio, Marcus also deceives his wife by lying to her. He tells her she's crazy and is worried about nothing with his mistress. He encourages the two to get along for the sake of the kids, but little did Angela know Keisha (the baby mother) was laughing in her face. Angela attempts to believe him ,but she had that “itch” that made her believe everything but what Marcus tells her. Similar to Katherine’s response to Petruchio’s lies, Angela snaps and crabs at Marcus, in an effort to be heard. The difference between Marcus and Petruchio is that Marcus lets it slide, while Petruchio is not afraid to put Katherine in her place of an obedient wife.
"PETRUCHIO: I say it is the moon that shines so bright.
KATHERINE: I know it is the sun that shines so bright
PETRUCHIO: Say as he says, or we shall never go.
PETRUCHIO:I say it is the moon.
KATHERINE :I know it is the moon.”
(Act 4, Scene 5, line numbers)
As for Katherine, she deceived her husband into thinking he was right at all times. He tamed her to obey and respect him, but she was deceiving him to strengthen their marriage. Katherine knew her husband wouldn't stop forcing her to starve or sleep on the floor if she kept up with her horrible attitude towards him. What he said goes, so even when he was wrong, she would still tell him he was right.
Petruchio's "taming" process proved to be efficient, as Katherine obeys him over all of the other wives to their husbands. Shocked, everyone watches her come to him the second he summoned for her; when she came, she announced in front of everyone how her feelings for Petruchio changed and she's in love with her husband, that's why she's obedient to him. She understands her wifely duties now, and believes Petruchio's actions towards her were out of love. As far as deception in their marriage, they used it to strengthen their relationship, unlike Marcus and Angela. Petruchio's deceived Katherine into the marriage, but overall made her a better person. Katherine's newly obedient manner caused her to stand by her husband and do as he pleases, even if it's not necessarily right. In the end, they are a happy couple and their deception in their marriage positively affected them.
Petruchio and Katherine’s deceptive tactics had the purpose of strengthening their marriage, but it’s not the same for Angela and Marcus.
It isn't revealed that Angela was cheating until her and Marcus contracted a sexual disease, and Angela admits she's already been treated for it. The two get into a physical altercation, but then settles their issues verbally. In this case, their deceiving was hurting their marriage as well as one another; their infidelity was done out of lust, not hatred. After putting all problems caused by deceiving on the table, they still decided to rekindle their marriage. Angela's shrew-like behavior is shortly paused as she shows her soft spot for her husband, admitting she only acts the way she does because she's scared to lose him. In order to be faithful to Angela, he demands his baby mother stops contacting him or visiting him unless it's for the sake of their child. She also talked about Angela in a degrading manner to the kids, which Marcus also demands for her to stop doing. With an attitude, his baby mother unwillingly agrees.
In Taming of the Shrew, the purpose of deception was to strengthen and create a bond between two who didn’t have one prior to marriage. In the movie, “Why Did I Get Married?” , lust controlled the deception, and hurt the relationship more than anything. While many believe deception is a negative aspect, “Taming of the Shrew” proved otherwise. The portrayals in both the movie and play prove that the purpose behind actions is what is the deciding factor whether it is hurting or benefiting the marriage. As stated, while deception is often connected with negative actions, the purpose behind it could change the direction in what it does for the relationship.