The Taming of the Shrews appropriation Ten Things I Hate About You can be argued as a useful appropriation or not. The film, set in around the 21st century in Seattle starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger is very modern as opposed to the play, set in the Italian Renaissance in Padua, a city in Italy. They both follow the same basic plot, the same themes, the same main characters and the same genre. But is Ten Things really a useful appropriation?
As I mentioned before, the play and the film have really similar plots.
For example, in the play the newcomer to Padua Lucentio wishes to wed the sweet natured Bianca but cannot until Biancas elder sister Katherine is married. So he disguises himself as a Latin tutor (Cambio) to be able to woo her. Meanwhile, he confers with a strange character by the name of Petruchio. Petruchio agrees to marry Katherine, solely for her dowry.
As opposed to in the play where the new kid to Padua High, Cameron wants to date the beautiful sophomore Bianca but he cant until Biancas elder sister Katarina (Called Kat by family and friends) is dating. This is because of their fathers mindset to keep Bianca away from sex, drugs and alcohol. So Cameron takes up French to be able to get closer to her. Meanwhile, he and his newfound friend Michael devise a plan to get the intimidating and mysterious Patrick Verona to date Kat for a sum of money.
The plays plot is adjusted a lot to fit the modern society of today, but nonetheless the plots are the same. This is very appealing to the teenagers of our days as it incorporates things we see everyday, for example, overprotective fathers, opposite sex attractions, hot teenage stars. It was also an effective choice to make Ten Things a film as it is the most favoured type of entertainment, and it is something everyone enjoys.
However, in the play there is also the sub-plot. This is in which all the characters disguise themselves as new ones or even each other.
Lucentio disguises himself as a Latin tutor by the name of Cambio, whilst Hortensio also disguises himself as a tutor but he is a music teacher, not Latin and he goes by the name of Litio. Both of these characters have done this in order to woo Bianca in secret. Lucentios personal servant Tranio, later impersonates Lucentio so he and Baptista can negotiate dowry terms over Bianca.
Baptista is later wondering whether Lucentio (actually Tranio) or Gremio would be best suited to Bianca. Tranio claims he will inherit a massive fortune from his father Vincentio. Baptista will only agree if Vincentio can confirm this so Tranio persuades a travelling pedant to play Vincentio.
This plot is not evident in the film although they make reference to Cambio with Cameron. There are also many other references in this film such as:
Katarina and Katherine, Patrick Verona and Petruchio of Verona, Bianca and Bianca. Bianca and Kats last name Stratford, in reference to Stratford-upon-Avon, the famous birthplace of Shakespeare. Padua High is also named after the town Padua (in Italy) in which the play is set.
There are also references to the Shakespearian language in the play. For example the shrew, I burn, I pine, I perish! and The s**tteth hath hitteth the fan eth
Also, Michael ends up together with Mandella (Kats best friend) as they find that they both have a deep passion for Shakespeare when they start quoting MacBeth.
But this language is a very weak attempt to bring Shakespearian into the plot as well as the fact that it is used with the crude English that not only teenagers but also adults and young children use in our modern day society.
The humour in the play and the humour in the film are very different. The plays humour is dated and very vague, and so much that I cant find anything funny in the play at all. I assure you though, most teenagers would agree. The play it seems, is much more serious than the film and can get quite boring.
However the humour in the film incorporates most things that teenagers are interested in, sex, drugs, alcohol, fights, crude language, cars, money and parties. This is a really good way to engage teenagers. But it also shows how modern day humour is so much different from, say, the 17th century (when the first adaptations of the film began) that it is scary.
In conclusion, I believe that the film, Ten Things I Hate About You is a successful appropriation of the play Taming of the Shrew because it is appealing to the modern day youth as it about things that appeal to us in our school years, it is very humorous and it presents itself in the form of the film, which is a very effective choice.
Although it may not have the little twists that Shakespeare puts on the plot, targeted at a certain age group and it uses some very pathetic Shakespearian in relation to the play, overall it is a very effective and useful appropriation especially for teenagers.