The Modern Shrew

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UNIVERSITY OF TARTU
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE

THE CONTEMPORARY SHREW: AN ANALYSIS OF TWO MODERNISED FILM APPROPRIATIONS OF SHAKESPEARE'S THE TAMING OF THE SHREW BA thesis

LIIS KAASIK
SUPERVISOR: LECT. RAILI PÕLDSAAR

TARTU
2008

ABSTRACT

The aim of the thesis is to analyse how the contemporary context and genre conventions have affected the representation of different characters and the plot in two modernized film versions of The Taming of the Shrew, ShakespeaRe-Told Taming of the Shrew (2005), directed by David Richards, and 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), directed by Gil Junger.

The thesis is divided into four sections: Introduction, Historical and Theoretical Background, Analysis of the Modernised Film Appropriations of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and the Conclusion.

The Introduction states the aim of the thesis, explains the importance of Shakespeare's work in contemporary world and introduces the films discussed in the thesis.
The second section of the thesis, Historical and Theoretical Background, firstly defines the terms adaptation and appropriation, discusses the different methods of adaptation and appropriation literature, theatre and film, with special attention to the advantages film has over the other means of reinterpretation. The section also gives an overview of Kenneth Rothwell’s classification of Shakespeare, in particular recontextualisation. Finally it gives examples of different film versions of The Taming of The Shrew.

The Analysis of the Modernised Film Appropriations of Shakespeare's The Taming of The Shrew gives a short overview of the films analysed discusses the influences the chosen genre has on the mode of reinterpretation. Then the representation of the main characters – Katherina, Petruchio, Bianca, Baptista, Hortensio, Gremio, Lucentio or their counterparts – will be discussed along with the relations inside the Minola family, the relations between Bianca and her suitors and the relationship of Katherina and Petruchio.

The Conclusion summarises all the sections of the thesis and discusses the main differences between the films analysed. TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………...2 2. Introduction………………………………………………………………………………4 3. Historical and Theoretical Background…………………………………………..………7 4. Analysis of the Modernised Film Appropriations of Shakespeare’s The Taming of The Shrew………………………………………………………………………………....……16 5. Conculsion………………………………………………………………………………32 6. References………………………………………………………………………………34 7. Resümee…………………………………………………………………………...……35 INTRODUCTION

Besides the tales which are told and then forgotten, there are some which are retold by each new generation throughout history. These stories survive because they touch the themes which are everlasting and remain topical regardless of the time which has passed since the creation of the original story. Still, although human nature remains the same, people, life and culture change and so do the stories – each retelling reinterprets the tale in order to retain the significance of the story for the people of that particular time. The retelling of stories means that they are adapted and altered so that they would fit the current culture. However reinterpretations work as reinterpretations only when the audience is familiar with the theme and the plot. That is the reason why well known stories – myths and legends, but also classical literary pieces – are chosen for reinterpretations as they are recongniseable for the majority.

Shakespeare is one of the writers whose stories are retold and reinterpreted constantly because, as Jackson Russell (2007: 321) has said, “Shakespeare is the space where the past meets our uncertain future.” In other words the themes Shakespeare wrote about hundreds of years ago – love, vengeance, ambitions, justice – have not lost their significance. The issues he dealt with in his plays are still present in the modern world and so...
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