10 Things i Hate about you and Taming of the Shrew
The film, 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) is an adaptation of the Shakespearean play, The Taming of the Shrew. The movie is presented to be very modern compared to the play, The Taming of the Shrew (1967) in terms of setting, dialogue, as well as the names of the characters. The plot of the film shows some similarities to the play. The setting of the film compared to the play is noticeably different as it is set in a different time period. The play moves away from being something written by Shakespeare in 1967, to a romantic teenage comedy in 1999. This will be discussed later on. The theme of feminism can be seen in both the play and the film. Linda Hutcheon came up with the idea of there being A Theory of Adaptation. An adaptation is having to take a film, book or play and create another film, book or play similar to the original. (Cambridge English Dictionary, 2019). There are three aspects of an adaptation that Hutcheon defines in her book, A Theory of Adaptation. This essay will discuss the three aspects of adaptation. The three concepts are: a formal entity or product, a process of creation and lastly, the process of reception. (Hutcheon, 2006).
The first aspect is known as a formal entity or product. This process can be defined as an adaptation that is an “announced and extensive transposition of particular work or works”. (Hutcheon, 2006). For this process to take place there would need to be a change of context. For example, having the same story but the interpretation or the meaning of that story may differ greatly. (Hutcheon, 2006). The second aspect is the process of creation. This concept falls hand in hand with the first process. In order for creativity to take place, a different interpretation of the film would need to take place. (Hutcheon, 2006).
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Lastly, the third aspect of adaptation is the process of reception. This part of the adaptation can be seen as a palimpsest. (Hutcheon, 2006). A palimpsest is having to create a new piece of writing from an old piece of writing that has been removed. (Cambridge English Dictionary, 2020). Hutcheon (2006), states that these adaptations are both created and received with the initial or original text taken into close consideration. She concludes by saying it is a double nature, meaning it can be its own original things, as well as an adaptation. This concept refers to how the audience would receive the message.
The first concept, formal entity or product can be found in the film. There are similarities and differences. The setting of the play, The Taming of the Shrew (1967) differs from the film 10 Things I Hate About You (1999). The storyline of both pieces of literature is different but similar in a way. Therefore, the film will be considered as an adaptation. Kat is portrayed as a girl that does not care about what other people think of her. This can be seen when Kat is in her car playing the song ‘Bad Reputation by Joan Jett. (10 Things I Hate About You, 1999) There is a close-up shot of Kat’s face showing a ‘no care’ attitude while looking over at the girls parked next to her. (10 Things I Hate About You, 1999). In 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Bianca is allowed to start dating once Kat does. This is similar in The Taming of The Shrew (1967). Bianca can only marry once Katherine marries first. The difference between the two is that in the play, Katherine is to be tamed by her husband Petruchio. Yet in the film, Kat is charmed by Patrick. In the film 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Kat tries to protect her sister from peer pressure. This can be seen during the scene in Bianca’s bedroom when Kat speaks to her about Joey. (10 Things I Hate About You, 1999). The film technique used in this scene was a medium close-up shot. This close-up shot showed Kat standing over Bianca which sent out a message of authority. (10 Things I Hate About You, 1999).
The second concept, the process of creation takes place when a different interpretation of the story is made. (Hutcheon, 2006). The writers were creative in making a modern story of Taming of the Shrew (1967). This concept compliments the first one. In order for creativity to take place, a different interpretation of the story has to happen. (Hutcheon, 2006). Compared to the play, a different interpretation is made of the film. The context of the film and play is very different, yet some would say Patrick had ‘tamed’ Kat of her feminist ways but instead he respected Kat’s views which brought out her personality. Patrick does not wish to tame Kat, but rather to help Cameron date Bianca as that is the only solution to their father’s decision. Kat in fact begins to distance herself from her feminist side and becomes more interested in Patrick. (Bertucci, 2014). She begins to fall in love. (Bertucci, 2014). A medium close–up shot of Patrick and Kat after their paintball outing, shows their body language and affection they share for each other. (10 Things I Hate About You, 1999). This drifts further away from the play, The Taming of the Shrew (1967) making it more of a film instead of only an adaptation. The scene where Kat presents her poem, a close–up shot of Patrick captures his facial expression showing concern. This can be interpreted as Patrick feeling sorrowful for being dishonest towards Kat. In the next scene, Patrick expresses his affection for Kat by buying her a guitar. This can also be seen as a gift for forgiveness. Unlike in Taming of the Shrew (1967), Bianca learns to stand up for herself against Joey, support her sister and become less selfish. (Bertucci, 2014). Bianca began to adapt her own views on certain aspects with the help of Kat. (Bertucci, 2014).
In the process of reception, the idea of Kat being a feminist and being ‘tamed’ by Patrick has been retained although he ends up falling in love with her. In both the play and the film, a theme of feminism and love takes place. At the end of the play, Katherine tends to change the way she thinks about her husband. She begins to praise him and he would begin to think that his efforts to ‘tame’ her was successful. The writer of the film 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) proved his originality by making Patrick fall in love with Kat. This process of adaptation, as mentioned before, is also known as a palimpsest. A person who would enjoy Shakespeare literature may have a different experience with the film compared to an audience who enjoys romantic teen comedy. The film 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), is an adaptation to the play, The Taming of the Shrew (1967), but apart from it being an adaptation it’s also considered as an original film.
In Linda Hutcheon’s book (2006), she explains that an adaptation acts from obtaining ideas from work that can be “second without being secondary”.( Hutcheon, 2006). This would mean that the film can be seen as an adaptation, as well as it being its own original piece of literature. (Eberts, 2012). As a new adaptation occurs, the context of the adaptation changes each time. (Hutcheon, 2006). This causes the story line to change. (Hutcheon, 2006). However, the plot, themes and sometimes the characters can be recognizable as the original story. (Hutcheon, 2006). This can be seen in 10 Things I Hate About You, (1999).
The scene in which Kat reads out her poem in front of the class, this is quite similar to the scene in The Taming of the Shrew where Katherine presents her speech. The context and the meaning between the poem and speech is different. Kat projects her love for Patrick, whereas Katherine talks about how a woman should respect her husband and what a woman should do for her husband. Although these two scenes are different, the scene from 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), is recognizable from the scene in the play, The Taming of the Shrew (1967). That scene results in the film not being secondary as it is not original. It is a scene being modernized to suit the audience.
In conclusion, the movie can be seen as an adaptation from the play, The Taming of the Shrew (1967). Gil Junger, the director of the film 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), has used Linda Hutcheon’s three aspects of adaptation in order to create a successful film. Whilst being able to keep the same idea of the play, he created something of his own. There’s similarity with originality. That brought about the first concept of adaptation. The characters evolved and their purposes changed from the play to the film. The second process of adaptation was to recreate a story that was shown by Katherine being tamed by her husband in the play and Kat falling in love with Patrick in the film. Patrick did not in fact ‘tame’ Kat, but respected and fell in love with her views. Petruchio attempted to tame Katherine and love was not in the equation. In the film Bianca also began to adapt her own views on certain aspects with the help of Kat. (Bertucci, 2014). The third process of adaptation involved the audience. An audience that would enjoy the art of Shakespeare may interpret the film differently compared to a different group of audience. Apart from the movie being an adaptation, the characters and the parts they played can also be considered as an adaptation.
- Bertucci, C. 2014. Rethinking Binaries by Recovering Bianca in “10 Things I Hate About You” and Zeffirelli’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” Literature/Film Quarterly, 42(2): 414 – 426.
- Cambridge Dictionary.2020.[Online]. Available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/palimpsest[Accessed 19 March 2020].
- Eberts, J, F. 2012. Adaptation: IS the Book Really Better Than the…Television Series?. Scripps Senior Theses.Paper 105: 56. [Online]. Available at: https://scholarship.claremont.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.co.za/&httpsredi r=1&article=1108&context=scripps_theses [Accessed 11 April 2020].
- Hutcheon, L. 2006. A Theory of Adaptation. Beginning to theorize adaptation: What? Who? Why? Where? When? New York: Routledge.