Modern Shakespearean Adaptation

2 February 2017

To create a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew, the writers of Ten Things I Hate About You had to change elements of the original story to make it more accessible to contemporary audiences. Though the setting and theme of the story are very different from the original, there are clues throughout Ten Things I Hate About You that pay homage to the Shakespearean play. With Ten Things I Hate About You, the screenwriter and director successfully update The Taming Of The Shrew for modern audiences.The opening of the story introduces the social hierarchy of high school cliques that provides the foundation for the storyline, just as the social hierarchy of nobility formed the basis for the events of the play that inspired the film. In this way, the writer supplies a familiar frame of reference, grounded in a common cultural experience and accessible to today’s audiences in the way that Elizabethan cultural norms would have been to audiences in Shakespeare’s time.

The change in the reasoning behind the father’s rules achieves a similar purpose; while the idea of marrying daughters off is foreign in our culture, overprotective fathers are very recognizable. Viewers can identify with the father who worries about his daughters dating more readily than with a father who worries about his daughters finding husbands, because concern over teen dating and sexuality is far more relevant to current social concerns.These changes, along with dialogue written in today’s common manner of speech, make Ten Things I Hate About You a successful adaptation of the classic play. Adapting The Taming Of The Shrew for modern audiences required changing more than setting and dialogue. The theme of changing to please a husband and live up to social expectations would not be well received in our individualistic, egalitarian culture. Changes in women’s rights and dating rituals have rendered Shakespeare’s message obsolete and inappropriate for contemporary society.The modern adaptation of the static character of Petruchio as the more dynamic Patrick altered the theme by shifting the burden of change away from Kat; instead of changing to attract him, he was attracted to her for herself.

Modern Shakespearean Adaptation Essay Example

Rather than shaming her into submission, Patrick accepts Kat as she is, shrewish tendencies and all. This new theme of remaining true to oneself is carried through the story by lesser characters as well. In choosing Cameron over the more popular and better looking Joey, Bianca breaks away from some of the expectations of popularity to make her own decision.Kat’s friend Mandella finds the perfect compliment to her Shakespeare obsession in Michael, who quotes the bard and attends the prom in period costume. In typical Hollywood fashion, the characters who are true to the movie’s theme of staying true to themselves all find happiness in the end. Throughout the movie, references to Shakespeare give clues to the inspiration for the film. The first clues come from the characters’ names.

Bianca carries the same first name as the corresponding character in The Taming Of The Shrew, while Kate from the play becomes Kat in the film.Their last name, Stratford, is a reference to Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-Upon-Avon. Patrick’s surname, Verona, is the name of the town from which Petruchio hailed. The name of the high school, Padua, is the same as the name of the town that is the setting for the play. The location that was chosen for filming provided a visual reference to the architecture of Shakespeare’s time in the castle-like design of the high school. Shakespeare is the topic of the English lesson when the teacher raps a sonnet, and the language in some parts mimics a Shakespearean style.Even the title has a similar sound and rhythm as the original.

Overall Ten Things I Hate About You is an entertaining interpretation of a Shakespearean classic. The setting, dialogue and theme changed to reflect contemporary values and experiences, but the story itself remained remarkably close to that of The Taming Of The Shrew, and using the film as a basis of comparison makes the original play more understandable for modern viewers.

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