Taming of the Shrew: Different and Simile with Film Adaptation

In todays day and age, societies concept of love at first sight is one that continues to be a debatable topic, because of the many controversial issues about love in the present day. When one falls in love with another individual, the relationship with the other seems easy to pursue and one finds it very easy to put up with the individual’s weaknesses. Falling in love makes people want to know more about their significant other than those who they have spent a very long time knowing. These feelings can be seen in Shakespeare’s play Taming of the Shrew and in the movie adaptation, 10 Thing I Hate About You. However, while there are similarities between the two, there are differences as well.

The first similarity between the movie and the play is that they both focus on love and feminism. The main character is a man named Petruchio who wants to marry Katherine, a girl who has bad temper and isn’t very nice, and In 10 Ten Things About You, the character Patrick, falls in love with Kat, an also short tempered girl. The characters in the play and their counterparts in the movie are similar and so are their relationships revolving around love. In the play, Katherine is contained about her idea of feminism/love and shows it through her ambitious actions. For example, Katherine makes a show of obeying Petruchio in act 5, scene 2 by 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 husbands foot; in token of which duty…” (Shakespeare pg. 221) Katherine appears to be admitting that a women’s role is to obey her husband, but she really she holds with her a strong feeling of feminism, and as for in the movie, Kat is very opinionated and is very straight forward about her thoughts, you can see this in her speech when her words towards Patrick are genuine. Overall, in the play and in the movie the theme of love and feminism is portrayed many times. Kat whose mind set was to despise boys, in the end changed and she genuinely fell in love with Patrick, and as for Katherine in the play who men soon learned to love and care for Petruchio. While this is one similarity between the movie and play, there are other similarities as well. One of the clearer aspects to explore in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, is the theme of feminism. This seems to be one of the main themes of the movie, which appears almost entirely in Kat’s character. Kat shows a more outward sign of her feminism in the movie than Katherine does in the play, despite the fact that Kat is based on Katherine’s character. This could be the director’s attempt at a more modern view of sexism, as opposed to the limited rights women had when the play was written by Shakespeare. Kat appears to others as shrew and full of hatred, when really she holds with her a strong feeling of feminism.

Another similarity is that the characters of Katherine, and Patrick/Petruchio have very similar personalities. Katherines personality is “Curst and Shrewd” (Shakespeare, pg. 43); in both the play and movie she is rude and has a bit of a short temper. Patrick in the movie, and Petruchio in the play, is Katherines “lover”, he is an outcast just as she is, and it is obvious that he is only wanting money. This is shown when Petruchio says, “I come to wive it wealthy in Padua; if wealthy, then happily in Padua.” (Shakespeare, pg. 53). In the movie, Patrick only goes out with Kat because he is getting paid to. In the play and in the movie, both characters see money as their only happiness and as if that is all they need. While these are two similarities between the movie and the play, there are differences as well.

One difference in the movie is the different type of relationship being portrayed. The female thoughts on dating in the movie is different from Shakespeare’s. For instance, in the movie dating and love is closer to common day and age and isn’t so serious; however, as it is shown in Taming of the Shrew, they all get married immaturely and that’s that. Shakespeare made the dating/love standpoint in the play universal so that whomever were to read it could understand it and be able to enable it to todays age. Not only that, but in the modern film the dishonestly and misrepresentation with who Kate was dating is different from the play. In the movie, Patrick was paid to take Kat out, and she found out and was very upset about it; however, in Shakespeare’s play Katherine never found out that Petruchio married her for the wealth and they lived the “happily ever after” lifestyle. In the end, in Taming of the Shrew, and 10 Things I Hate About You, both project a relationship being portrayed with the extent of a modern turn anyone could relate to.

Finally, there is one more difference between the movie and the play. Patrick and Petruchio are both viewed as the ones to “Tame the Shrew”. Patrick’s character is seen as Kats’ equal, while Petruchio is a more dominant person and Katherine must obey him. This is shown when in the play Katherine argues with Petruchio that the sun is not the moon “The moon! The sun; it is not moonlight now/ I say it is the moon that shines so bright/ I know it is the sun that shines so bright/ Now, by my mother’s son, and that’s myself, it shall be moon, or star, or what I list…” (Shakespeare). As for in the movie, Kat can say no to Patrick, for she was not forced to obey him, an example of this is when Patrick’s asked Kat to prom, she refused, and he did not force her to go. The difference in the movie and play is that Petruchio told Katherine that he must agree with him despite if he is wrong. The quote from Shakespeare shows how Katherine must obey Petruchio; while on the other hand Kat does not. This shows the level of social hierarchy, making Petruchio more powerful than Katherine in the play, but Kat and Patrick’s relationship more leveled and acceptable today in the movie.

Indeed, while the movie 10 Thing I Hate About You and book version of Taming of the Shrew have differences and similarities, the play has a different perception of love in the end than the Hollywood’s happily ever after. Yes, the main plot and storyline are maintained in each of the stories, but it is ultimately the character's personality that leaves you, as the reader with an emotional impression. Overall, the movie gives the reader visual feedback to comprehend the situation that the play is portraying of love and relationships at first sight or not.  

24 May 2022
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