The meaning and importance of love in marriage has changed throughout time. In our society, most marriages exist solely because of love. Marriages occur between all sorts of people; the influence of family, social status, and especially wealth has much less to do with the marriages of today compared to those during the time period of William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. This play demonstrates how money controls marriage and shows a much different role of love in a relationship.
Courtship was customary in Shakespeare’s time. A man’s primary purpose in courting was not to have the woman fall in love with him, but rather
to arrange the marriage with her father. Love has lasted throughout Shakespeare"tms time and ours, but in the end love is still love, and that is what holds a marriage together. Petruchio"tms only motivation to marry Katherine was her wealth, and even her shrew-like disposition could not discourage him. He even went as far as to confirm Lucentio"tms wealth by asking for his father to guarantee the dowry. Once he received Baptista"tms blessing (after another dowry was arranged, of course), Petruchio was confident that not only would the marriage result in his prosperity, but also in the taming of Kate. However, despite the lack of love (or even mutual respect for that matter) at the time of the wedding, by the end of the story we see that Katherine has developed a congenial, if not loving, relationship with her husband Petruchio. While love was present before Bianca and Lucentio"tms marriage, the same was not true for the relationship of Petruchio and Katherine. When Baptista made his choice he spoke nothing of Bianca"tms feelings towards either man: "I must confess your offer is best, And, let your father make the assurance, She is your own"" pg. In Taming of the Shrew, Lucentio succeeded in gaining Bianca"tms love; however, it was only after Baptista was convinced Lucentio was richer than her other suitor, Gremio, that he allowed Lucentio to marry Bianca. The two were wed - a marriage not based on love, but money. Today such a thing seems bizarre, scandalous, and even immoral; surely the marriage would end in disaster. If Baptista had believed Gremio to be the wealthier of the two, Bianca would have had to marry him regardless of her feelings for Lucentio. While in today"tms society love will often lead to marriage, Shakespeare"tms uses of the two couples, Lucentio and Bianca, and Katherine and Petruchio, demonstrate an ideal rare in the modern world: that marriage can lead to love.