When I first paired William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew with Gil Junger’s film adaptation 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), my students’ responses to the juxtaposed works of art revealed a number of fascinating and deeply-rooted ideological conflicts. While more than willing to dissect the gender trouble readily observable in Shakespeare’s sixteenth-century play, my students resisted steadily any serious critique of the recent film version. The varied responses of my students coupled with their almost uniform approbation of the film and censure of the play prompt questions that lead the critic to speculation on the nature of contemporary culture and to renewed investigation into Shakespeare’s vexed early comedy. An analysis of The Taming of the Shrew , 10 Things I Hate About You , and student responses to both works suggests that what students find most offensive about Shakespeare and most satisfying about 10 Things may derive not simply from the two works’ treatment of gender but from their assumptions about an even more basic concern–that of ontology and the nature of human subjectivity. Shakespeare’s Taming and Junger’s film adaptation prompted strong reactions in my students, responses that reveal students’ interpretive mechanisms when digesting the entertainment created for their consumption. Packaged in the appealing visual language of teenage America, Junger’s film glosses over the complex of gender and power dynamics that the rougher edges of Shakespeare’s drama leave exposed.
Pittman, L. Monique. "Taming 10 Things I Hate About You: Shakespeare and the Teenage Film Audience." Literature/Film Quarterly 32.2 (2004): 144-52.