The Taming of the Shrew, written in the 16th century by William Shakespeare and its adaptation 10 things i hate about you, directed by Gil Junger in 1999 are both contexts that reflect the society of the time texts were composed. The evolution of society from now to then, showing the similarity and the differences of values and ways of life. Because the movie was based of Shakespeare’s play, there are a lot of similarities; the characters, the main structure of the plot, and themes are similar, of course there are also differences since they were told in different forms and shown in different times.
The characters Katherine, Bianca, Patrick/Petruchio and their father are all very similar in both contexts. In both texts Kat is rude, mean and abrasive, whereas Bianca is the sweet loving and popular, in the movie she almost is portrayed as dumb and mean though. Mr Stratford/Babtista Minola in the play is loving but harsh and wishes for his daughters to be married as soon as possible, and in the moving he is over protective and never wishes for his girls to leave home. he is suspicious of the male gender and thinks they will all impregnate his daughters.
“And I’ll get to sleep at night. The deep slumber of a father whose daughters aren’t out being impregnated.” – Walter Stratford.
Patrick Verona and petruchio are Kats wooers, he is an outcast, unfriendly, its clear in the play that he is motivated by her money “I come to wive it wealthily in Padua; if wealthily, than happily in Padua.” In the movie he seems less motivated by the money, well at least towards the end when he starts feeling something for Kat.
The nature of relationships within families is quite similar in The Taming of the Shrew and 10 Things I Hate About You. In both cases, Kat and Bianca do not share a close bond with each other as they have completely different personalities. A constant sibling rivalry between each other can still be seen in both stories. Junger used specific filming techniques such as a panning shot from Bianca to Kat to show the great differences between the two sisters. In The Taming of the Shrew, Bianca openly criticises and insults Kat about her shrewishness and unpleasant behaviour which highlight more of the dissimilarities of the siblings. On the other hand, in Ten Things I Hate About You, Bianca and Kat does not show as much respect to their father as they do in Shakespeare’s play. In the film, Walter Stratford is more of an irritating nuisance than a role-model. This shows that the 17th century placed a strong emphasis on respect and can be seen in the play when Kat is forced to marry Petruchio by his father’s commands. Junger demonstrated the lesser respect to parents by showing the girls showing their backs to their father while being lectured and the use of sarcasm and high-tempered voices towards them.
Created and based in the elizabethan era, taming of the shrew has a very dominant male society and the women are portrayed as the submissive mate who should always obey her husband. Shakespeare uses Petruchio to show the dominant male ways. Petruchio uses his cruel ways to ‘tame’ Katherine.
The theme of both texts revolve around love and feminism. Katherine in the play is very shy and contained about her view of feminism and shows it more through her actions.
She makes a huge deal of obeying Petruchio in Act 5, when giving her speech. “…now I see our lances are but straws, our strength as weak, our weakness past compare… 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.” Katherine appears as if to be admitting that a woman’s role in marriage is to obey her husband.
Because we read this speech, rather than hear it, it could be interpreted as sarcasm, whereas in the movie Kat’s speech is clearly genuine, and in the movie, she is very open about her opinion and her feminist views, she isn’t afraid to say and talk about her thoughts on society and its issue with the whole, every guy should get what he wants.
As the appropriation, “10 Things I Hate About You” represents of course the same ideas, though altered to suit time and context. Unlike the Elizabethan Era, men and woman of the 21st century supposedly have equity in social authority. Through the film, Junger shows a teen culture which deals with a new demand for equality and acceptance, for example Kat’s feminist beliefs.