The Elizabethan era was a time of evolution where art, poetry and literature flourished. More importantly it was a time where William Shakespeare defied the roles of women in the Elizabethan society through their depiction in his plays. When exploring Shakespeare’s play ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ and Gil Jungers contemporary film ‘Ten Thing I Hate About You’, the behaviours, language and actions of the characters help identify the similarities and differences between the two versions. Furthermore, the audience is positioned to compare the two versions in the context of patriarchal dominance, the marital rituals, and the role of women in both the Elizabethan and contemporary society.
In the Elizabethan era women were highly expected to follow the rules of society; to be a housewife and bear children. The men of the Elizabethan society had a mentality that women were inferior to men in the chain of being. Consequently, men dominated women from birth right through to death by being a father, a brother or a husband. Katherine herself says “Thy husband is thy lord, thy keeper, thy head, thy sovereign, one that cares for thee” (Act 5, scene 2, lines 140 – 141). This line encourages the audience to believe that this is the right way because the once unruly Kate is saying this with such conviction. Furthermore, this line summarises the play’s opinion on Marital harmony and patriarchal dominance, reinforcing the reality of the Elizabethan era. However, in the Gil Junger’s contemporary version, the female characters endure patriarchal dominance to a lesser extent and stand up for their own rights. In the scene after Kat purposely crashes into Joey’s car, Kat has a fight with her dad about making her own choices and her dad says “you don’t know what you want”, which Kat rebuts with ” … I want you to stop trying to control my life because you can’t control yours.” By saying this, it connotes that she wants to be more independent and it affects her dad personally as she is referring to her mother leaving them. In summary, women are still affected by patriarchal dominance in the modern world but women have more of a say and opinion of what they want to do compared to the women of the Elizabethan era, who had little to no say in their life.