The following academic paper highlights the up-to-date issues and questions of Taming Of The Shrew 10 Things I Hate About You. This sample provides just some ideas on how this topic can be analyzed and discussed.
The story of The Taming of the Shrew is one that raises important issues both in the Shakespearean text and in the modern appropriation 10 Things I Hate About You. How does each composer’s use of this story reflect the time in which each was composed The Taming of the Shrew was written in the Elizabethan Era in England at a time when men were considered to be superior to women.
The patriarchal society of this time is reflected to a large extent in the text and various implications of traditional values can be noted.
The modern appropriation, Ten Things I Hate About You, goes along the same story line however it is quite evident that the different context has a significant impact upon the content.
The most obvious indicator of the type of society is given through the medium that each text is presented in. The Taming of the Shrew is a play and was staged for audiences during the early 17th century. The fact that Shakespeare chose to write a play rather than, say, a comic strip or screenplay, indicated that it was the most popular form of entertainment at the time.
The best way for Shakespeare to have his work known was through the most popular form of entertainment. The language of the text is another tell-tale sign of the type of culture prevalent in Shakespeare’s era.
Shakespearean English is used, which is much more poetic and refined than our present day dialect, hence the people in society had quite sophisticated speech. In the film Ten Things I Hate About You, the language is fairly colloquial and rough-edged. Kat is called a ‘heinous bitch’ by her peers, and the Principal of the school, someone in an authoritative position, has no problem with relaying that information to Kat.
This is a large contrast to the Katherina of the Shakespearean text, whom others called a “shrew” and a “wild beast”. This exposes the crude English that society has developed, and that is being used by teenagers. The fact that a person in a position of power doesn’t hesitate to use such language emphasizes that it is accepted not only by adolescents but by adults as well. Yet another illustration of the popular culture of modern society is the medium that Ten Things is shown via. Choosing to adapt the play, The Taming of the Shrew, as a film shows that it was one of the most popular forms of entertainment of the 20th century.
Society in the Renaissance period was highly dominated by males, and they exercised their power over women quite regularly. We can immediately come to this conclusion after reading the beginning of the text, The Taming of the Shrew. Katherina is being defined by Gremio and Lucentio, and after their first meeting with Katherina Gremio states. Through the men’s definitions the audience is given the first opinions of Katherina and she is not given a chance to voice her own opinion or thoughts on the matter.
The appropriated version of Katherina, Kat, is a character that is given much more freedom. She is a non-conformist and an outsider at her school. She is defined by her own words, “I don’t like to do what people expect, why should I live up to other people’s expectations instead of my own”, and her actions in the English Class Scene. Kat makes references to Sylvia Plath and Charlotte Bronte, both feminist writers, and we are led to believe that Kat holds strong feminist views.
The music in the film also signifies how Kat feels, for example the beginning song that has the lyrics “I don’t give a damn about my bad reputation”. In the film Kat is also given a chance to explain the reasons for her “different” behaviour when she tells Bianca about her relationship with Joey. Katherina of The Taming of the Shrew is never given the chance to explain herself and her actions therefore we can conclude that it is because her society does not allow for women like herself to have an opinion. Choice is a prominent symbol of the cultures that each text reflects.
In the Taming of the Shrew Katherina is forced to marry Petruchio and she is not given any choice in the matter because it is unacceptable to go against the will of one’s father. The culture of the early 17th century placed strong emphasis on the respect that children must show for their parents. Although Katherina rebels against many other customs she reluctantly marries out of respect for her father. In Ten Things Kat is given the choice of going out with Patrick or not. Patrick is given money to woo Kat but he never forces her to take up his offer because, in the society that they live in, it is not acceptable.
This reflects that, in the modern context, men and women have greater equality, and also that parents have little or no part in the relationships that their children build with members of the opposite sex. The fathers in each of the two texts give a very good insight into the culture of the society in their particular eras. The Ten Things father is very protective of his daughters. He is aware of the availability of drugs and alcohol in teen culture, and the probability teens retain of having sexual relations. This shows that these are all prominent issues in society in the 90’s.
Baptista, from the play, is a contrast to the Ten Things father. He very much desires his daughter’s to get married because he doesn’t want to risk losing his family’s good reputation. We can tell that it is normal for daughter’s to be married by their father’s and the father is not worried about sex, drugs or alcohol, so we can gather that these issues were not around during the Renaissance. Hence it can be concluded that the culture of the time was not exposed to such matters, and did not need to concern themselves with them.
The biggest force in society at the time Ten Things was made was ‘peer pressure’, and still is. We find this out when Kat talks to Bianca about her relationship with Joey. She said “everyone was doing it so I did it”. We can gather that Kat was a victim of this “peer pressure” and her reaction was to cut herself off from all the conformists and become her own person. Kat is not the only person in society that has a feminist view, though, and this is shown at “Club Skunk” where her favourite band performed.
Kat was not the only girl listening to the band so one can assume that Kat’s interests were not entirely individual. Whereas Katherina of Shakespeare’s play is only one voice in the male hierarchical system and she is never aware of any similar voices so her oppression in society was inevitable. In modern society, it has become normal for all teenagers to attend university. In Ten Things Kat talks about wanting to attend a University out west, something her father isn’t keen on, as the western Universities are known for their better marks and overall higher intelligence.
Kat’s desire to go against her father’s will reflects that parents and children of the 20th century were more equal than they were in the Elizabethan period. Kat’s thirst for knowledge and attendance at a western university highlights her strong personality as she is willing to go against her father to get what she wants. In The Taming of the Shrew an indication of a character’s wealth is by the number of servants they have, the size of their property, and the positions they hold in society. This is a direct reflection on Renaissance society as many of the richest people owned a fair few servants.
This is fairly similar to today and in Ten Things, the movie illustrates the Kats’ family’s wealthiness through their large pristine house, their father’s occupation as a Doctor, and the dialogue. In Shakespeare’s time wealth was admired a great deal. Men would marry women because of their father’s wealth and the good deal they could close. Well off men were much respected in society. The reason for Petruchio’s marriage to Katherina was solely because he wanted to have a share in her wealth. In the end the audience never finds out whether Petruchio and Katherina love each other but previously they didn’t so it can be assumed either way.
In Ten Things not much reference is paid to the impacts your wealth had on the respect you received in society. Bowy Lowenstein, on of the computer group is not considered “cool” because he spends a lot of time at his computer and not socializing, yet he is very wealthy. Overall The Taming of the Shrew and Ten Things I Hate About You contain many elements that reflect the society through which they were composed. The historical, cultural, and social context of the Taming of the Shrew influenced much of the action in the play and the film appropriation gives an insight into 20th century teen culture.