The Theme Of Relationships In The Taming Of The Shrew And Its Film Adaptation

“10 Things I Hate About You” as well as “The Taming of the Shrew” are similar to a lot of other Hollywood blockbusters, while both sounding similar in name, both are considered to be that of a romantic comedy genre, dealing with relationships, light hearted and most importantly, conclude with a happy ending. Leaving both the audience and the characters feeling satisfied and cheerful. So how are these two movies the same and yet so different?

The story line for “10 Things...” is based on the same concept as “The Taming of the Shrew” play written by William Shakespeare. Even though the plot is about love and relationships, the fact remains that the time periods as well as the idea of marriage/relationships are very different from Shakespearean time and that of the 1990’s. In both the play and film, Kat and Kate make changes to better accommodate their partners. For example – Katherine changes things about her to better suit Petruchio, and – Kat changes her negative attitude, while Patrick does the same thing, meeting half way, while changing things she dislikes about him as well.

“Have you seen the unwashed miscreants that go to that school?” is a direct quote from the movie supporting Kat and her negative attitude.

Walter (who is the single and overprotective dad to both Bianca and Katherina – Kat for short-) and his desire to not allow Bianca to date until Kat does. Walter plans this knowing Kat is in no way interested in dating during high school. Kat can be characterized as what society would label as an opinionated and angry outcast in her last year of high school, one who just wants to be her own person, and a teenage rebel who doesn’t want to do what anybody expects of her or one that “follows” the rules.

“Am I that transparent? I want you, I need you. Oh, baby. Oh, baby” is just one example to support her being very opinionated.

Bianca on the other hand, is what some would consider to be that of a snotty sophomore who believes her sister is out to destroy her very existence. One of the differences is that of the character Bianca, who defends her sister at the end of the film, while in the play Bianca, refuses to obey her husband in the end.

Examples of Mr. Stratford’s lack of trust and his wild assumptions, thoughts and beliefs that he holds toward his teenage daughters, is unjust and disappointing; as it limits the opportunities Kat and Bianca have for life lessons and chances to have some fun. The lack of trust he possess for his children can be noted when they wish to go to a party, and before sending them off he states,

“No drinking, no drugs, no kissing, no tattoos, no piercings, no ritual animal slaughters of any kind.”

Mr. Stratford assumes that his daughters will engage in stereotypical “teenage” activities, and has absolutely no confidence in their judgments.

Some of the differences and similarities come from a few different characters, for example, Cameron from “10 Things…” resembles the character Lucentio from “The Taming…” Lucentio is very confident in himself, unlike Cameron who is very unsure of his chances of being able to go out with Bianca. These two characters are also alike, in the fact, they both disguised themselves as some sort of teacher. Lucentio actually disguised himself as a teacher, whereas Cameron actually learned French so that he would be able to be Bianca’s French tutor.

Joey (10 Things…”) is more self-confident than Hortensio (The Taming…”) is, while portraying to be extremely full of himself and thinks that he could get any girl he wants to get. Patrick Verona (from “10 Things…”) is paid to date Kat, by Joey, in hopes that he will then be able to date Bianca. In “The Taming…” Hortensio is trying to marry Bianca for the reason that she is good looking and her family is extremely rich. This could be a difference and a similarity. In the sense that it makes them similar because they are both trying to get with a girl for their own selfish reasons, however the approach they both use is different. Hortensio eventually gives up on Bianca because he sees that Lucentio has already gotten her love. In the movie, Joey doesn’t really give up until the very end of the movie.

There are some subtle similarities between “10 Things…” and “The Taming…” that are not so noticeable, such as Bianca and Kat Stratford, Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon. Patrick’s last name, Verona, is the birthplace of Petruchio (who plays the same character type in the play). In the film, “10 Things…” is set in Padua, which is also the city that “The Taming…” takes place in. During an altercation in the school parking lot, Kat is referred to as “the shrew” by Michael while showing Cameron around. At the beginning of the movie, when Kat is the classroom (“10 Things…”), she is reading one of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Like similarities, there are also inferred differences between the two. “The Taming…” takes on the contention of male dominance during the Shakespearean time. Whereas, “10 Things…” takes on the subject of the female’s ability to have influence and/or control over the male, with the emphasis of the sexual power of a woman. Relationships appear to be more one-sided marriages in the “The Taming of the Shrew”, while in “10 Things I Hate About You”, relationships and dating appear to portray a genuine feeling and are the result of compromise.

Kat is not trapped in society as Kate is. Kat is allowed to attend her chosen university and has the freedom to wear whatever choice in clothes she has and any music genre that fits her choice. Patrick is able to “tame the shrew” in “10 Things…” by being overly nice to Kat. For example at the end of the movie Patrick bought the guitar that Kat wanted as a way to say “I’m Sorry”, however in the play Kate is treated badly just to prove a point.

In conclusion William Shakespeare’s play “The Taming of the Shrew” highlights some of the most noteworthy ideas and values of the Renaissance period in 17th century Europe. The play explores the inequality of power between genders, loyalty and obedience and the importance it plays in relationships and the social repression of females. Creating a text laced with moral and social questions, Shakespeare’s personal views of women. The story of Kat and Patrick’s relationship shows that you shouldn’t judge people on appearances. Patrick thinks there is no way he could actually like Kat but in the end she turns out to be the girl he falls in love with. The idea of not judging on appearances relates to real life. At the beginning of the film Michael walks through the courtyard with Cameron and informs him about the different social groups at Padua High School. This shows the way high school is often perceived in real life. The scene, with a long camera shot, shows how judgmental they are putting everyone into groups and putting a label on them. The examples of Kat and Patrick show us that people can be different compared to how they first appeared to you. The movie wants us to learn that we should get to know someone, because if we judge on appearance only we could miss out on a great friendship or relationship. 

16 August 2021
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