In 1999, the cult classic “10 Thing I Hate About You” came out. This movie rode on the ideas of Third wave feminism, which was highly prevalent in the 1990s and early 2000’s, unlike its original source material: Taming of the Shrew. Written in the late 16th century, Taming of the shrew is reflective of the renascences misogynistic, patriarchal and mistreatment of the women in that time. The original play tells the story of Petruchio (Patrick in the film) , and how he ‘tames’ an angry and headstrong Katharina (mainly known as Kat in the film), to be obedient and compliant wife. The movie shares only a few things in common such as; the premise of Kat needing to marry/date first before her younger sister Bianca, Cameron (Lucentio in the play) trying to date/marry Bianca and hiding his intentions by acting as a tutor. Because this movie doesn’t have the same themes and societal attitudes of the time that’s its older counterpart took place in, it does not appropriately represent the main concepts of; gender roles ….
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Taming of the shrew’s main premise was the ‘taming’ of Katerina. Petruchio’s constant beratement of her, making it clear that she needed to be subservient to him, as he was the patriarchal figure. Its recent adaptation has turned that view of male-dominated society and flipped it, in a way that portrays Patrick being tamed by Kat instead. Both Patrick and Petruchio accept money for dating/marrying Kat, the difference comes with the movie portrayal as Patrick almost seems reluctant to take the money on the second date, and again when he is paid to take Kat to formal, using that money instead to try to make up for his wrongdoings and buys her the guitar she’s been wanting. Petruchio’s character is a stark contrast as he never gives an inch to Katerina, he never apologies and never once puts himself in discomfort for her. An example of this is: “…you would have heard all about how her horse fell with her under it, how swampy the place was, too, and how she was covered in mud, and how he left her like that, with the horse on top of her” (Act 4 Scene 1). The intentions behind this character on both mediums are so dissimilar that the impact that each has, is vastly different. This scene in the movie is completely altered to show Patrick in a more of a caring and affectionate light. The scene depicts Kat drinking too much alcohol and may be suffering from a concussion. Patrick takes the time to look after her, making sure she doesn’t fall asleep or be taken advantage of in her inebriated state. Patrick’s character shows genuine affection towards Kat, as if he was only doing it for money he could have left her to fend for herself at that party. When she vomits on his shoes, he just takes it and leaves it at that. Patricks and Petruchio’s intentions and actions towards Katherine are extremely polarising, one shows genuine affection and love towards Katherine, while the other is demeaning and abuse towards her.
As taming of the shrew was written in the 16th century and the play itself was set in the renaissance, it views of women and their power in society is vastly different to our modern outlook. The character Gremio refers to one of the many ways that women were treated to punish them for being outspoken and non-obedient for their male counterparts: “To cart her, rather” (Act 1 Scene 1). To cart a woman, was to tie them to a cart as it travelled the streets of the town, and the inhabitants would either bang pots and pans to show their offence to the wrongdoer, or in worse cases would whip and physically abuse the shrewish woman. Such practises were common in Shakespeare’s time but in the modern society that !0 things I hate about you was set it, these unfair and torturous practises completely contradict the ideological mindset that feminism implemented into present society. Throughout the play, we can see some of these Elizabethan methods that Petruchio inflicts upon Katerina. He first removes her from her family home, isolating her somewhere where she has choice but to rely on her new husband. He then proceeds to make her as uncomfortable as possible with sleep deprivation, starvation, emotional blackmail and constant humiliation. If the director of !0 things I hate about you had decided to follow the plays ‘taming’ techniques, then the public would be in an outcry as it contradicts the view of how women should be treated. As they took artistic liberties with the plots and themes it no longer represents the primary focus of taming and the impact it truly had upon the characters.