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

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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…show more content…
Kat is influenced by external factors that also contextualise the film’s setting; she mentions feminists Sylvia Plath and Charlotte Bronte, and is featured reading the former’s novel, Bell Jar, and the film applies ‘riot grrrl’ music ‘of the angry girl variety’, with lyrics such as ‘I don’t give a damn about my bad reputation’ to Kat in order to define her from the opening scene of the movie. That the film includes these elements of feminist material reflects its modern context of a society that is not unfamiliar with feminism. In this area it challenges the original text, where within the context of the Elizabethan era, Katherina’s rejection of her inferiority as a woman is unaccepted and repressed. As Hortensio mocks: ‘ ‘Mates’, maid? …No mates for you/Unless you were of gentler, milder mould’ (1.1.59-60), he manipulates Katherina’s reference to him as a ‘mate’- a crude man- to mean ‘husband’ in an attempt to silence her. Such repression- and that of Katherina at the hands of Petruchio- though exaggerated and outrageous, was acceptable and approved of in the context of Shakespeare’s play. Conversely, in the modern context of 10TIH, where there is greater equality between genders and greater liberty for children, similar repression would be unacceptable. These liberties are explored when Kat is able to ‘overpower’ her father in situations such as her attendance of Sarah Lawrence College. Here the film challenges the authority of Baptista,

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