The modern Kat has considerable power of her social position that being able to object to unfair treatment and the capability to walk away from Patrick, contrasting to Katherina in Taming where she is denied any freedom and have little choice but to obey Petruchio. 10 Things I Hate About You could also be seen as a feminist interpretation of the play, evident with references to Sylvia Plath, Kat’s reading, music interests and taste in universities. These references reflect the growing and changing view of women and the importance of their roles in modern society.
Walter’s obsessive behaviour, thinking that his daughters would become pregnant once dating, is reasonable as a father. His thinking reflects the modern society’s much confused view of the association of teenagers dating and sex. This is simply evident with the prosthetic pregnant stomach he keeps by the door. However, from Bianca and Kat’s point of view, we understand that this is not always the case. Joey personality affirms the father’s assumption that dating leads to sex, whereas Cameron defies this belief.
William Shakespeare is universally famous for his ingenious uses of language to communicate a message effectively, reflecting the culture and values of its context. On the other hand, the language used in the film, 10 Things I Hate About You is changed to the context of modern day society, exemplifying the connotation of ‘trash’ and simplicity of modern communication. Throughout The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare uses motifs as literary devices to highlight the major themes.
The motif of disguise and deception is used where Lucentio and Hortensio dress as tutors, Tranio as Lucentio, the Merchant as Vincentio and in the induction, Sly dresses as a lord, allowing them to cross social positions and classes. The play questions whether a person can change roles by putting on new clothes and is consequently answered when the supposed Lucentio is exposed by the real Vincentio as Tranio. This reinforces the clear social division between upper and lower classes in the Elizabethan society.
Petruchio’s domestication of Katherina and use of the ‘falconry’ imagery reoccur throughout the play. She is constantly referred to as a wild animal, where Petruchio as the tamer, calls her a “falcon”. The perceptions of the roles of men and women have changed since the 16th century. Women were like falcons who were to be controlled and tamed by the falconer, men, where the audience would find this relevant and agreeable.
The medium of production was adapted to the context of the times, appealing to the intended audiences. Although Taming of the Shrew was originally written as a theatrical play, Gil Junger produced 10 Things I Hate About You as a film, reflecting the change in values of entertainment. Using film as a medium of delivering his appropriation, with the advanced visual features that can be created, is able to use features of the story in different ways that were once restricted by the simplicity of the Elizabethan stage theatre. Scenes of greater action are more attractive to modern audiences, especially adolescents – the targeted audience of the film.
The context of the time and the audience determines the values and themes that a text addresses. 10 Things I Hate About You alters the issues that are not relevant today, from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew to something that is appropriate to satisfy the levels of expectations of a film’s suitability to modern 20th century.