The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

The Taming of the Shrew book cover
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Does Ten Things I Hate About You challenge assumptions about relationships or simply affirm those offered in The Taming of the Shrew?

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Readings on the gender roles and relations in The Taming of the Shrew have changed throughout the years as the social norms surrounding gender have changed. While for years audiences enjoyed the portrayal of traditional gender roles with the men dominating their subservient wives and with Petruchio taming away Katharina's "shrewishness," modern audiences are understandably uncomfortable with such an unequal portrayal of marriage. In modern productions of the play, it is more common to play Petruchio's taming as a semi-ironic act, with him and Katharina playing at and mocking the traditional roles rather than actually subscribing to them.

Though Ten Things I Hate About You  does not rely on such dated and uncomfortable tropes for its gender relations, it does still have several thematic similarities to its source material. For one, women are viewed as prizes to be won in both the play and film; consider how Cameron and Joey talk about Bianca. She is clearly a status symbol as the most...

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