10 Things I Hate About You & Taming of the Shrew: Appropriation

1377 words 6 pages
10 Things I Hate About You & The Taming of the Shrew

The historical and cultural contexts of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (TTS) and the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You (10TIH) differ exceptionally, resulting in the film’s expression of values unlike those expressed in Shakespeare’s original text. Shakespeare’s play was written during the Elizabethan era, during which the belief that men were superior to women was prevalent. This concept is centralised in TTS, through incorporation of a disputably misogynistic tone and the dominance of men consequently forcing Katherina into marriage and submission. In contrast, 10TIH, a modern film appropriation of TTS, largely challenges the values of Shakespeare’s play. It presents to
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The film does, however, in keeping with its modern context, suggest that the parent holds a degree of power of the children- a social role parallel to the Elizabethan context of TTS which contributes to Shakespeare’s rendering of Baptista as a domineering father.
Nevertheless, Walter is unable to fully control his children’s love lives, with the film utilising his character as comic relief to convey this. In addition, the Stratford daughters ‘date’ rather than marry; these two factors are attributed to the film’s modern context where freedom of romance is valued. Such a value differs from the Elizabethan standard of having marital relationships set by the men involved- the husband, and the father.

The concept of arranged martial relationships in TTS is atypical to the Elizabethan era, where dowries were also set, as seen in Baptista’s offer to Petruchio; ‘…half of my lands/And…twenty thousand crowns.’ (2.I.117-118). However, the social context of 10TIH sees the film expressing that the payment for wooing Kat is immoral- as opposed to a similar payment being expected by the husband in the context of TTS. This aspect of the historical and cultural context of the Elizabethan era is made clear in Petruchio’s enquiry of the dowry- ‘…if I get your daughter’s love, what dowry shall I have…?’- as it is