10 Things I Learned This Week

Ok ok this post isn’t actually 10 things I learnt, but let me explain. This week in English 12 we are continuing our reading of “Taming of the Shrew.” TOTS (Taming of the Shrew) is a play written by Shakespeare, and falls into the category of “comedy” compared to “tragedy” because it ends with marriage… Anyways, TOTS is basically about (in a Luca brain interpretation) a crew of people in Italy in the Elizabethan times trying to get this crazy women Kate married so her pretty yet shallow sister Bianca, could be married. Katherine aka Kate is this wild and untamed woman who is at the time labeled a “shrew.” A shrew basically meant what Kate was. A wild, untamed woman. Any women in the Elizabethan time had standards and expectations to follow, and if they didn’t, they were labeled a shrew. Anyways, this post isn’t just about the fact I learnt what a shrew is, it’s about a connection I made mid class one day.

“10 Things I Hate About You is just another version of Taming of the Shrew” said someone in my class a few days ago. I instantly was intrigued as that is a movie I really enjoy, and have seen quite a few times. I immediately was shocked and did some googling, and that person was right. I should have known that, as the main character in TOTS, Katherine Minola is the shrew who refuses to follow the standards of woman that her father and just any man expects for her to follow. The main character in 10 Things is Kat Stratford who is the crazy, goofy, and wild teenage girl who refuses to act a certain way to impress teenage boys, and just like Katherine, ends up being “tamed” by a man.

An illustration from Taming of the Shrew

With further research, most characters and the overall story line of both Taming of the Shrew and 10 Things I Hate About You line up almost perfectly. Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith, the writers of 10 Things, did an amazing job at turning a Shakespeare play into a modern day story about teenagers. Despite the very different settings the two works of fiction take place in, certain things remain constant, such as the ways the characters are portrayed and perceived.

Characters from 10 Things I Hate About You

Some themes that really match up in both pieces of work is the actual taming of the shrew (Katherine or Kat in this case.) Kat Stratford, Katherina Minola’s counterpart, is rarely taken seriously and constantly mocked, while Patrick Verona, Petruchio’s counterpart, is looked up to as a model of masculinity and admired for his ability to tame the shrew, or at least make her fall for him. You’d think that taming of wilder women is such a 1500’s thing to do, but I watched this 1990’s movie and didn’t think twice.

I can’t explain all the connection as this post would be 1000+ words, but there was countless connections and this video right below helps show them.

Why I wanted to make this post is because it correlates with our classes discussion of continuity and change, and how it’s kind of ironic how we can recreate a 1500’s story in the 1990’s and have it be quite, well, realistic. Obviously women rights have moved forward for the good, but the theme of “taming” a “wild women” is seen in both TOTS and 10 things (500 years apart!!!) Which brings us to the question, why does society feel the need to “tame” women?

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