Comparisons between Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith’s 10 Things I Hate About You and William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and references to William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 141”
Numerous different people have adapted or remade William Shakespeare’s work The Taming of the Shrew since he wrote it. One of those adaptations is Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith’s 10 Things I Hate About You and has many direct and indirect references to Shakespeare’s The Taming….
First off, the similarity in the naming of the primary characters, the two sisters in The Taming… are named Katherina and Bianca, in 10 Things… Katarina and Bianca. In 10 Things… the girls’ last name is Stratford undoubtedly a reference to Stratford-Upon-Avon where Shakespeare was born. Petruchio of Verona in The Taming… closely resembles Patrick Verona of 10 Things…
The story lines mirror each other closely. Shakespeare’s Lucentio wants to marry Bianca but is unable to until her older sister is first wed. In 10 Things… Joey is in the same situation wanting to date Bianca but she is unable to until her older sister starts dating. In both works, Petruchio and Patrick are relatively unknowns from out of town. In The Taming… Hortensio has disguised himself as a music teacher, so that he can spend time with Bianca and woo her secretly. Looking at 10 Things… Cameron becomes a French tutor to Bianca because he wants to be around Bianca and hopes to woo her as well.
There are other points in 10 Things… that reference Shakespeare, in Wikipedia it is noted that;
At several points the characters also either directly quote Shakespeare or allude to his style of writing in their own speech, typically for comedic value. For example, upon seeing Bianca for the first time, Cameron declares, “I burn, I pine, I perish!” (10 things)
Which is a direct quote from The Taming… that Lucento says in Act I scene i.
Tranio, I burn, I pine, I perish, Tranio,
If I achieve not this young modest girl.
Counsel me, Tranio, for I know thou canst:
Assist me, Tranio, for I know thou wilt (The Taming).
What Lucento is saying is that he wants to wed Bianca and he is asking Tranio, his servant, how he can achieve this. Continuing from Wikipedia, “Also, when Michael pulls out on his motorbike in front of [Katarina] and she apprehends him, he calls her “the shrew.” (10 things) I found this to be very interesting as many modern students have a very hard time relating to Shakespeare. This was a very bold move by Lutz and Smith and in 10 Things… they really pulled it off well in that I did not even notice it the first few times that I watched it. Once I did notice this, I felt that the bringing the classics to the modern screen enhanced this movie even more.
Katharina has the homework assignment to write her own version of Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 141”. Her poem “10 things I hate about you” obviously becomes the title of the movie. The first two lines of “Sonnet 141” read, “In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes, For they in thee a thousand errors note;” (Sonnet)
What it seems that Shakespeare is saying I love you but not for your physical beauty in Katharina’s version she states, “I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair” (10 things). Not an exact match but her poem reflects what Shakespeare was conveying in “Sonnet 141” which I see as, you are not perfect but I love you in so many ways nonetheless. This can also be seen in next two lines of “Sonnet 141” “But ’tis my heart that loves what they despise,Who, in despite of view, is pleas’d to dote.” (Sonnet)
Which say that no matter what some see I will dote on you because my heart loves what others may not like. The rest of “Sonnet 141” is much the same just stated much more eloquently by Shakespeare. The last line of Katharina’s version is,“But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all” (10 Things)
This is in essence exactly what Shakespeare says in “Sonnet 141” just taking the reverse, he loves her yet he cannot say why and Kat says I should hate you but I do not.
There are other correlations between 10 Things I Hate About You and The Taming of the Shrew beyond what I have shown here. I believe that this was an excellent modernizing of a truly great work of Shakespeare’s. 10 Things… uses a classic story bringing it to a new generation even if they do not realize it. Most will agree that the movie was purely for entertainment but who knows they may have learned something along the way.
“10 Things I Hate About You.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 4 Mar 2007, 18:30
UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 4 Mar 2007.
“Sonnet 141.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 19 Jan 2007, 01:35 UTC. Wikimedia
Foundation, Inc. 5 Mar 2007.
“The Taming of the Shrew.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 3 Mar 2007, 19:02 UTC.
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 4 Mar 2007.
I have included both Kat’s poem from 10 Things… and “Sonnet 141”
Kat’s 10 Things I Hate About You
- I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair.
- I hate the way you drive my car.
- I hate it when you stare.
- I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind.
- I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme.
- I hate the way you’re always right.
- I hate it when you lie.
- I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry.
- I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call.
- But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.
by William Shakespeare
In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note;
But ’tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who, in despite of view, is pleas’d to dote.
Nor are mine ears with thy tongue’s tune delighted;
Nor tender feeling, to base touches prone.
Nor taste nor smell desire to be invited
To any sensual feast with thee alone:
But my five wits nor my five senses can
Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,
Who leaves unsway’d the likeness of a man,
Thy proud heart’s slave and vassal wretch to be:
Only my plague thus far I count my gain,
That she that makes me sin awards me pain