Shakespeare's “The Taming of the Shrew” is a testament that romance is possible but a relationship or even marriage might take some time. Often, difficult situations are what propels a relationship or the acceptance of a marriage proposal. In the play, Petruchio seeks to ‘thrive and have a wife’, but Katherine resists his hand in marriage. Her fear of becoming an old maid finally compels her to accept his proposal. Similarly, in the 1994 movie “Forrest Gump”, the main character loved his best friend since a young child and seeks to date and marry her, however she refuses for several years because she doesn’t want to settle but to be independent. Her diagnosis of HIV/AIDS and the future of her son made her wise up and walk down the aisle with Forrest.
Despite the fact that Katherine and Jenny both refused to their suitors hand in a relationship and marriage in the beginning, their reasons were totally different. Katherine’s refusal is a facade or illusion that she used to mask her fear of never marrying and becoming an old maiden. Jenny’s resistance arises from her hedonistic desires to satisfy herself through freedom, expressionism, and drug abuse. These two circumstances create different reasons for having second thoughts and they also show that society’s thoughts on relationships and marriage has developed over the years. These works both show that women have more control over when to get enter into a relationship and marriage than they once did, however the harsh reality of being an “independent woman” often compels them to walk down the aisle.
“No shame but mine. I must, forsooth, be forced to give my hand, opposed against my heart.”
(Act III, Scene ii, 8-12)
In this quote, Katherine is complaining to Traino about Petruchio. Katherine claims that she is humiliated about being forced into marriage. She claims that he is a con artist that is in a hurry to get engaged. Petruchio wants to get married to Katherine because she comes from a wealthy family and she is available because no one wants to put up with her temper. He wasn’t marrying her based off of love.
In the movie Forrest Gump, Jenny finds herself in a similar situation. However, it is before the question of marriage is put in the air.
In this early scene from the movie, Jenny is scolding Forrest for trying to ‘save’ her from her a guy that she was having intimate relations with. She says, “Forrest you don’t have to do this for me. I am grown now.” Jenny goes on to say that she would not be in a relationship with him. Here Jenny wants to be free and express herself on her own. She is not ready to settle down and be with Forrest; she just wants to hook up with guys and not have any strings attached. Similar to Katherine, she refuses to be in a relationship. However, Jenny actually has the option to not be in a relationship. Katherine had to marry Petruchio not matter how she felt. This shows that a woman’s control over whether or not they entered in to a relationship has changed over throughout the centuries.
“She is your treasure, she must have a husband. I must dance barefoot on her wedding day; and, for your love to her, lead apes in hell.”
(Act II, Scene I, 32-34)
In this quote, Katherine is having an argument with her father about her younger sister, Bianca. She said that Bianca his her father’s treasure, and while her daughter gets married, she will dance barefoot on her wedding day. It is an old wives tale that if the younger of two sister’s get married first, than the older sister must dance barefoot at the sister’s wedding or risk never getting married. Here Katherine is implying that Bianca is the prized daughter who is destined to be married, while she will die an old maid. This is the incident compels Katherine to get married. She doesn’t want to die alone, so she will soon have to give into marrying Petruchio. Even though Katherine had little control over marriage, she did have control over her feelings concerning Petruchio. He would be her only hope of saving her from being an old maid, by marrying him.
In this, Jenny is sitting in a park with Forrest looking after the child that they share. This is the moment when Jenny reveals that she has HIV/AIDS and won’t have much time left to live. Then she finally asks him to marry her. This is the incident that pushes Jenny to marry Forrest. Because she only has little time left with Forrest and her son needs someone to take care of him, she has to marry Forrest. Similar to Katherine, she finally decides to marry the man that sought her hand in marriage. This shows that a woman’s control over marriage has changed because Jenny had more control than Katherine on whether she wanted to marry. It took her many years to marry Forrest and she switched the gender roles by asking Forrest to marry her, instead of him asking her to marry him.
The fact that Jenny finally asks Forrest to marry her in the end of the movie fortifies that theory that women have more power to chose whether or not they want to be in a relationship or marriage. The “Taming of the Shrew” ends with Katherine wed to Petruchio and ‘tamed’. She no longer is a wild-tongued woman she used to be, but is a ‘faithful servant’ to her husband. “Forrest Gump” ends with Jenny and Forrest happily married after many years of lost love. Although she ultimately dies, Jenny made the decision to spend her last days to married to Forrest.
- "Taming of the Shrew: Entire Play." Taming of the Shrew: Entire Play. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
- "MOVIE ONLINE." Forrest Gump. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.