1. In your own words, write a plot summary of The Taming of the Shrew.
2. What is a ‘shrew’?
3. Who is the shrew in The Taming of the Shrew and 10 Things I Hate About You?
4. Write a flow chart of the plot 10 Things I Hate About You contrasting it with The Taming of the Shrew.
5. What does The Taming of the Shrew mean? What does this imply about gender roles in Shakespeare’s time?
6. Why does Kat act like a ‘shrew’ in 10 Things I Hate About You? Use quotations from the film to support your response.
7. In 10 Things I Hate About You, is Kat ‘tamed’?
8. What references to Shakespeare are made in 10 Things I Hate About You?
9. Look at the following lines from Baptisa in Act One of The Taming of the Shrew. What is he saying? Translate it into contemporary English:
Gentlemen, importune me no farther,
For how I firmly am resolved you know;
That is, not bestow my youngest daughter
Before I have a husband for the elder:
If either of you both love Katharina,
Because I know you well and love you well,
Leave shall you have to court her at your pleasure.
10. Look at the following lines from Katarina in Act Five of The Taming of the Shrew. What is she saying? Translate it into contemporary English:
Fie, fie! Unknit that threat’ning unkind brow
And dart not scornful glances from those eyes
To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor.
It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads,
Confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair buds,
And in no sense is meet or amiable.
A woman moved is like a fountain troubled,
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty,
And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign, one that cares for thee,
11. Many have criticised The Taming of the Shrew for being sexist. Why do you think this is? Do you think 10 Things I Hate About You is sexist, or does it demonstrate how things have changed? Explain your answer.
KAT STRATFORD (JULIA STILES)
At the beginning of the film, Kat is described as a “heinous bitch” and a “mewling, rampalian wretch”. In English class, Joey Donner describes her as a “bitter self-righteous hag who has no friends.” She aspires to go to an east coast college like Sarah Lawrence but her father is keen to keep her close to home. Unlike her younger sister, she is fiercely independent and looks down on her peers and their “meaningless, consumer driven lives.” Towards the end of the film she reveals that one of the reasons she didn’t want to be popular is that Joey dumped her when she refused to sleep with him again. “After that, I swore I’d never do anything just because everyone else was doing it,” she confides in her sister. She is based on Katharina, the eponymous ‘shrew’, in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.
PATRICK VERONA (HEATH LEDGER)
Patrick is a rebellious teenager who reputably “lit a state trooper on fire” and sold his own live on the black market for a “new set of speakers”. Towards the end of the end of the film, he reveals that none of these rumours are true and he spent the previous year looking after his ill grandfather in Milwaukee. At the beginning of the film, Patrick is characterised as a violent loner who would be a perfect match for the prickly and tempestuous Kat. There is also a rumour circulating that he once ate a live duck. Patrick is based on Petruchio from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew who attempts to tame the tempestuous Katharina.
BIANCA STRATFORD (LARISA OLEYNIK)
According to Michael, Bianca is a “snotty little princess”. At the beginning of the film, she vacuously ponders the difference between like and love: “I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack.” She is frustrated that her father won’t let her date and thinks that her sister is a “hideous breed of loser”. She is annoyed that her father won’t let her date and upset when Kat reveals that she was trying to protect her younger sister. She is based on the beautiful Bianca from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew who attracts a number of suitors but is prohibited from marriage until her older sister is wed.
CAMERON JAMES (JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT)
When Cameron arrives at Padua High, he is immediately infatuated with Bianca Stratford. “l burn, I pine, I perish,” he says. In an attempt to spend more time with he, he takes on the role of her French tutor. He is petulant when Bianca doesn’t notice him: “You know, just ’cause you’re beautiful, that doesn’t mean that you can treat people like they don’t matter.” Cameron is based on Lucentio fromThe Taming of the Shrew. Like Cameron, Lucentio attempts to woo Bianca by becoming her Latin tutor.
WALTER STRATFORD (LARRY MILLER)
Walter is the “incredibly uptight father” of Kat and Bianca. An obstetrician, Walter has an overwhelming fear that his daughters are going to become pregnant. At the beginning of the film, he prohibits his daughters from dating, then changing his mind to allow Bianca to date if her sister does. Towards the end of the film, he reveals one of the reasons why he’s so protective: ““Fathers don’t like to admit it when their daughters are capable of running their own lives. lt means we’ve become spectators.” In The Taming of the Shrew, Baptista refuses to let his younger daughter Bianca marry until her older sister Katherina is married.