Problem Of Gender In Taming Of The Shrew And 10 Things I Hate About You

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Taming of The Shrew tells a story of a wealthy father, Baptist and his two daughters, Bianca, aged 18 and Katherina, aged 20. At the start of the play Lucentio, a student comes to Padua and sees Bianca. He instantly falls in love with her however, he soon finds out that she has an older sister, Katherina. During the play it is tradition that the eldest in the family must be married off before the youngest. Katherina is a feisty, opiniated shrew so nobody is interested in marrying her. This made it very difficult for Lucentio to have Bianca. Two men come along later in the movie, Hortensio and Gremio who like Bianca as well but she doesn’t like them, so they hire people to get her interested in them. Gremio hires Lucentio as a tutor for Bianca and Hortensio hires a musician. While this is all going on Petruchio, a friend of Hortensio finds Katherina. He sees her disrespectful behavior and makes an offer to Baptisa, Katherina’s father, to marry her. As he is sick of way she is treating the family and others he agrees for them to marry. Although Katherina refuses it they still need to marry. Petruchio ‘tames’ Katherina to be a better person by physically and mentally abusing her, stopping her from eating and drinking and calling her names. While this is all happening Bianca and Hortensio run off and get married. 10 Things I Hate About You, the modern adaptation of Taming of The Shrew was modified to make the movie more engaging, relevant and acceptable to the laws of today’s society. Themes such as setting, gender equality, marriage and transformation were changed.

Although the plot and setting are very similar in both the play and movie, a few major changes were made. The language has changed from old bard to modern English including slang and abbreviations that teenagers use today. By adding the way in which characters talk and interact with each other to replicate the day to day choices and conversations the audience is able to relate better to. I don’t know about you, but I would not sit and watch a bard in today’s society, I’d probably fall asleep. In the modern adaptation Baptisa, the father of Bianca and Katherina acts differently towards his daughters. His reasons for not letting Bianca date before Katherina is more because he doesn’t want her to go out and get pregnant or do drugs. “I’ve got news for you, I’m down, I’ve got the 411, and you are not going out and getting jiggy with some boy, I don’t care how dope his ride is. Mamma didn’t raise no fool!” (10 Things I Hate About You, 1999), Mr stratford clearly states. This has been changed because society has changed a lot since the late 1500’s and its more likely for a teenager to get pregnant early father than married. Also, instead of Katherina and Bianca being married off they go to a high school prom. This is more accepting to today’s society because it isn’t even legal to get married till you are 18 and most people don’t get married till their early 20’s. The creators of 10 Things I Hate About You have changed the setting of the movie. Instead of the movie being set in a small, old town of Padua with strangely clothed people, it is set on a wealthier side of Padua, based at a high school with teenagers wearing clothes that the modern world would wear today. Instead of woman being in multiple layers wearing dresses and being very over dressed, woman can just wear shirts and shorts. The creators have done this so the audience they are targeting can relate and imagine themselves in that situation.

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Would you want your daughter or son being married before they are 20?

The age in which people were married during the 1500’s was way too young for today’s society, even you would agree. The view of marriage in the 16th century was viewed as an economic transaction rather than actual love. The father would ‘sell off’ the eldest daughter in the family to her ‘future husband’. In Taming of the Shrew Kat aged 20 was viewed as too old and opiniated to be married so everyone wanted her sister Bianca, aged 18. But as tradition in the late 1500’s the eldest daughter on the family had to be married off first.

Marriage has changed a lot since the 16th century. Firstly, it isn’t even legal to marry anyone before the age of 18 and secondly you marry someone who you truly love and want to spend the rest of your life with. You love them for who they are and accept any flaws they may have. In modern adaptation there isn’t marriage instead there is a school prom. The creators of 10 Things I Hate About You modified the marriage as it isn’t accepting to todays society and any young person watching the movie would be ‘grossed out’. If I was the one being married off in this day and age, at age 16 I would be petrified and probably have no friends because its seen as ‘wrong’. The audience is more likely to relate to a school prom than an old-fashioned wedding in bard. By changing this slight issue audience are able to make wiser decisions with what society faces them with.

I would never allow anyone to call my friends curst! Gender is a really big social issue that Taming of the Shrew portrays and the authors of 10 things I Hate About You did an excellent job of showing the more relevant side of things.

Masculinity was viewed differently in the late 1500’s than it is today, as was gender equality. Gender plays a massive role in both Taming of the Shrew and the modern adaption 10 things I hate about you. Taming of the Shrew is a terribly sexist play where woman is treated like a toy, objects and slave to men. If a man had a woman that would obey their demands and act as a slave towards them the men were viewed as a ‘manly man’ meaning he was masculine. Whereas todays definition of being masculine is when a man is handsome and/or buff. This concept is completely wrong in the 21st century but completely right in the 16th century like what the heck! The word ‘Shrew’ means violent or bad- tempered woman, meaning only a woman could be a shrew. In Taming of the Shrew woman were really disrespected, they were married for an income for men and were tamed to be who the man wanted them to be. A woman was tamed after marriage when the husband starves, verbally and physically abuses her. A man didn’t love a woman for who she was he just needed her to be manly. I don’t know about how you feel about this, but I believe that its completely wrong. I want a man to love me for who I am not who they want me to be. An example of this terrible problem in both the movie and play is initially it was a game for Petruchio (Patrick) to date Katrina but they end up falling in love and getting married/going to the prom (after taming her). So, after pretending to like her they tame her to be the way they want her to be and then they fall in love. In the movie sexism wasn’t portrayed as much as the play. Woman were treated with a little more respect and they were tamed in different ways. Creators of 10 Things I Hate About You made this changed to make conflict in the movie relatable and understandable for the modern audience. It teaches the audience how to treat other people and what good decisions are.

  1. (2019). [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2019].
  2. Summer of the Arts. (2019). 10 Things I Hate About You | Summer of the Arts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2019].


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