A Parallel Between The Character Katarina Minola From Film 'The Taming Of The Shrew' And The Character Katarina Stratford From '10 Things I Hate About You'


This work determines how the character Katarina from Shakespeare's comedy "The Taming of the Shrew" (1593-94) was adapted in two film versions – "The taming of the Shrew" (1967), and "10 Things I Hate about You" (1999). For this I choose to compare their role in the scenes "Kiss me Kate" from "The Taming of the Shrew" (1967), and the scenes 8 and 9 from "10 Things I Hate About You" (1999).

The motivation for this work appeared in the English Literature class, at UFPA. The adaptations presented during the classes made me interested in these kinds of genre, because it's a new way to see the classics, and at the same time can be a motivation for the students to participate more effectively in the classes and enhance their curiosity for the classic reading, therefore they can compare the period, the life, the language, etc., and consequently, have a better understanding of the literary work presented by the teacher.

The work brings a vision of the Literary Adaptation Works - LAW, and a parallel between the characters Katarina Minola (1967), and Katarina Stratford (1999).

Literature is a great source of themes for adaptations, specially to the cinema. It is common finding movies about stories, novels, poems or plays, which were written by famous names of the world Literature as Nathaniel Hawthorne with The Scarlet Letter (1995), Mary Shelley with Frankenstein (1994), Jonathan Swift with Gulliver's Travels (1996), Charles Dickens with Oliver Twist (1948) and others. These stories and many others became known in reason of their adaptations, and many others just became known by the young public through their adaptation and presentation in the world cinemas. But what does mean literary adaptation? To answer this question let known some concepts of adaptation:

Mario Feijó Monteiro (2002) understands the literary adaptation as a translation of the original text, but not of a language or society, it's the translation of a generation for another one, from a previous cultural period to the current cultural period. He says that a good adaptation tries to wide the base of the readers of a specific work. Thus adapted literary works (ALW) are possibilities of narrating a story with your own words, kipping the original plot, and in reason of this he classifies the classic adaptations as paraphrases.

Amaya Prado (2007) also says that the literary adaptation concept is near of the translation concept, therefore to the studious of this assay say that when you translate a text you inevitably make an interference or transformation on the original text. Although there are more freedom in the adaptations than in the translations. She says that the term adaptation has two concepts according to the aim of the LAW. If the objective is adapting the reader to the text, the LAW will present some kind of sources that will facilitate the reading, as preface, assays, introduction, glossaries and notes of baseboard. But, if the aim is to adapt the text to the readers, she says that the work is concentrated on the original text:

The adaptation the text to the reader follows the inverse way; the work is concentrated on the text, with the aim of facilitate its reading by the students. Changes, cuts, suppressions, and additions are done on the original text in order to adjust it to become nearest of the universe of the reader, its world knowledge and cultural characteristics (PRADO, 2007, p.3).[1]

As you could see, a literary adaptation is the capacity of transforming a literary work in to a new genre, and it can be a film, a play or even a classic adapted to children. Lombardo at all (2005) say that LAW are well accepted by High School students because these works keep the original plot of their respective classics, but with a language adjusted for the young public. Beyond this, the LAW represent a way to make the classic reading habit, which is practically inexistent in the young public, growthrough students, and thus created possibilities for the students participate as critics of the social, cultural and economical contexts presented to them in the LAW.

However, LAW is subject of many discussions between many studious; while some of them see the LAW as something good for enhance the classics reading habit, others see the LAW as a bad imitation that don't correspond with allegiance to the original text. This is what thinks Gustavo Bernado (1997 apud XAVIER, 2007), to him "all the adaptations is like a cut in the classic stories, in other words, it's a practice of censorship on the text of the author who is been homaged" (BERNADOR, 1997 apud XAVIER, 2007).[2]

One of the great defenders of the LAW is the writer Carlos Heitor Cony.

Xavier (2007) is another studious who thinks of LAW as something good. She says that adaptation would be alternative to the growing of the students' classic reading habit.

Ana Maria Machado (2001) also agrees with adaptations especially when they are done for the young public, because they enhance the students' curiosity and work as a "trailer" of the original text. However, She talk about the limits to the LAW, for her is necessary that the author of LAW selects important elements of the original text and leave others out of the LAW that is being made, but with careful for don't break the set; and the language must have a similar effect on the readers like in the original text: "...the original text must be as a map and a compass to their adaptations (MACHADO, 2001, p.139)"[4]. According to this author the LAW are limited, and must be as faithful as possible for the original text when the LAW are written works, but when the LAW are made for others genres, as cinema, theater, and others, they have more freedom:

The recreation of a literary work from the existent one can have few elements of the original text, and do something totally new, different and even oppose of it. In this case, the original text is only a motive to the manifestation of others authors. We could talk about Joyce and Homero or Dom Casmurro and Otelo, as examples. (MACHADO, 2001, p.139)[5]

As Machado (2001) said that we must have a special treatment with the LAW, and thy must be deal with the original text, when the LAW have academic objectives. But if the objective is to use the classic as inspiration for a new work, it's totally free to be created.

According to Freire and Zaninelli (2008), it is what occurs with most of the LAW to the cinema, they don't need to expose all the concepts of an specific text; most of the time, the LAW try to adapt new values, and thus becoming more interesting then the text from which was inspired. The script of a film is independent because it needs to create a new language. Even a text full of actions has parts that are boring or empty, it's necessary cut these parts, but with responsibility, what matter is that the LAW be complete (Ray, 1989 apud Freire and Zaninelli, 2008).

Freire and Zaninelli (2008) see a film as a trying of the scriptwriter of share with the spectators a little of his literary vision.

I believe that LAW are good for rehabilitates the reading practice in and out of the classroom, specially in the young public, because the LAW use elements that make the reading easy, avoiding misunderstood, and this way, the uninteresting of the readers. But, how was said here by the authors, we must be careful for don't use the LAW as substitute of the classics, but as a tool to introduce the origin texts for the readers. The final aim must be the reading of the original text.

In classroom the LAW give for the teacher a great number of possibilities to be used in order to develop the interesting of the students in a specific text. We can use, for example, elements of the LAW to compare with the original text, as plot, language, historical and cultural context, compare elements between two LAW, etc.

As example of how we can work with the LAW. I made a parallel between the characters Katarina Minola from "The Taming of the Shrew" (1967) and Katarina Straitford from "10 Things I Hate about You" (1999), both works are adaptations of the Shakespeare play "The Taming of the Shrew" (1590-94) to the cinema. The objective is to know if the ideological discourse of the both characters Katarinas changes from one work to another.

A Parallel between the character Katarina Minola from film "The Taming of the Shrew" and the character Katarina Stratford from "10 things I Hate about You".

As almost all Shakespeare's works, "The taming of the Shrew" has been adapted to many other kind of genre, especially to the cinema. In this work we make a parallel between the character Katarina Minola from the film "The taming of the shrew (1967)", and the character Katarina Straitford from "10 things I hate about you" (1999) in order to determine how these characters are rewriting in each film adaptations, if they have the same characteristics or if they presents different aspects.

The version of 1976 happen in century XVI, the environment is the city of Pádua, in Italy, sight as the cradle of the renaissance and of the arts.The adaptation "The Taming of the shrew"was made in 1967, by Franco Zaffirelli, andtries to recreate as much as possible the scenery of the play in the film; the language used is the same of the Shakespeare's play, only with some cuts to be adjusted for the cinema. Beyond the scenery and the language, the ideologies employed in the discourse of the play were also recreated.

The other film "10 Things I Hate about You" is an adaptation for teenager public, therefore all the things needed to be adapted to involve the world of this public, as school life, dating arrangements, relationship between teenagers, familiar conflicts, and others. This version was recreated in the USA, in the year 1999, by Gil Junger, and was written by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith; the scenery of the conflicts are Padua High school, and the Stratford's' house.

3.2. The characters

3.2.1. The character Katarina Minola from "The taming of the shrew"

Katarina is considered by everybody as a shrew because of her intolerable temperament, but especially because she always says everything that she thinks. She is the opposite of her sister Bianca, the symbol of the purity, innocence, and obedience largely spread out around the society that determined the women must to get married, love and obey their husbands. Katarina occupies the position of an observer of the events and the people actions; she reflects about the ideas imposed by the dominant class and rejects especially the submissive way as women let themselves to be dominated by the men. Katarina is seen as a dangerous for the harmony of the social structure, it because she makes questions about this society in which the men occupy the central position, and the women just must to obey. Therefore she doesn't act according the rules determined for the society to the women behavior, and use aggressive manners, and a savage language as a way to keep her probable suitors away.

Katarina doesn't accept to have a suitor, because to her it would represent to agree with the old traditions, which cut the women desires and treat them as stale women, who just obey, have no opinion, have no life, no pleasure, unless to server their husband. Katarina's misbehaves represents her fight against the traditions that conditioned the women's actions under the men desires.

However, Katarina changes her manners during the film as in the play, and in the end she presents another kind of thoughts, she behaves as all that women she denied in the beginning. Now she defends the obedience that the women must to have to their husbands, as we can see in this chosen scene for to be analyzed in this work:

"Kiss me Kate"

SCENE II. Padua. LUCENTIO'S house.



Fie, fie! unknit that threatening 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,
My husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;
And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?

This change doesn't happen suddenly, it was a sequence of quarrel disputes between Katarina and Petruchio, and in the end Katarina surrender herself to Petruchio's desires. In this stanza Katarina condemns the others wives who don't obey her husbands and exalts the men's value, demonstrating how the women are fragile and needs the men, and how they are ingrates when prefer war in opposite to serve, love and obey.


I am ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace;
Or seek for rule, supremacy and sway,
When they are bound to serve, love and obey.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come, you froward and unable worms!
My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
My heart as great, my reason haply more,
To bandy word for word and frown for frown;
But now I see our lances are but straws,
And place your hands below your husband's foot:
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready; may it do him ease.


Why, there's a wench! Come on, and kiss me, Kate."

However, even though Katarina proves her submissive behavior, it's not possible for us to say that she was tamed by Petruchio. As we said in the beginning, Katharina is an observer person of the events and probably she understood that was easier change her manners than all the society thoughts.

3.3.2. The character Katarina Stratford from "10 things I hate in you"

Katarina is a bossess girl, ironical, and intelligent, she asks why everybody in the school behaves in a submissive way, why they always do all the things to be loved, and don't behave as their desire; and the manner of her father control her life.

The high school environment creates its proper rules of behavior, and hierarchy, in this society the appearance is the base to be cool, that is, get status, and consequently reach the top of this social pyramid. Kat is contrary to the ideals practiced for the young public described in the school community, her critical falls down on the involuntary and futile behavior of the teenagers in general, but especially in the vain way of her sister Bianca who represents the ideal of girl in this environment, and makes everything to adjust herself to the ideal standards of beauty, and social status.

At home, Kat also fights against the oppression that her father exert in her decisions, especially related with the professional and educational choices; Walter, that tries to decide the destiny of his daughters, represents the current familiar institution. But, different of the version from 1967, the values defended by Walter for his daughters is not the marriage, but the education. He controls his daughters' life in order to avoid their suitors and consequently they get pregnant early, but he uses oppressive rules that Kat doesn't accept, because she desires taking her own decisions; at school or at home, she defends that the individuals must be free to act according to their desires, they don't need to changes her manners to be accept by the society.

In this version the main quarrel disputes happen between Kat and her father, Walter, it's because this LAW needed to be adjusted for the current conflicts, and the marriage lost its position for the family conflict, but the main theme still being the same, the adjustment of the individuals' behavior to the social rules.

To exemplify this point of view we chose the scenes 8 and 9. In this scenes Walter tries to decide for what University Kat must to go.

Walter, who hasn't raised his eyes from the mail, is inspecting a letter.


What's this?It says Sarah Lawrence?

Kat snatches it away from him and runs across the room in a flurry of excitement, tearing it open and reading the contents silently.


I got in! I got in!


Uh, honey that's great.But isn't Sarah Lawrence on the other side of the country?


Thus the basis of its appeal.


Yeah.I thought we decided you were gonna stay here and go to U Dub like me.Be a husky.

He makes some inspiring growling noises.


No, you decided.


Is this about Sarah Lawrence? Are you

punishing me because I want you to stay close to home?


Aren't you punishing me because mom left?


You think you could leave her out of this?


Fine.Then stop making my decisions for me.


I'm your father.That's my right.


So what I want doesn't matter?


You're eighteen. You don't know what

you want. And you won't know what you want until you're

forty-five. And if you get it, you'll be too old to use it.


I want to go to an East Coast school! I

want you to trust me to make my own

choices.And I want you to stop trying to control

my life just because you can't control yours.


Oh yeah?Well you know what I want...

Walter's BEEPER goes off.


We'll continue this later.


Can't wait.

Although, in this adaptation Katarina also opens the guard and finishes acting as thepeople who she criticized, she went to a party where she drunk and danced as all the teenagers that were there, but there isn't in her attitude reflex of the submission presents in the attitude of Katarina of Shakespeare, the end of this LAW was rewritten to adjust the situation of the current woman, who already not accepts the explicit submission to the husband, if Katarina changed her behavior, adopting a less aggressive attitude, the others characters had also their behaviors modified in order to taking care of the expectations of the current public, as we can see in the following stretch:

You know, fathers don't like to admit it
when their daughters are capable of 
running their own lives.It means we've 
become spectators.Bianca still lets me 
play a few innings.You've had me on 
the bench for years.And when you go to 
Sarah Lawrence, I won't even be able to 
watch the game.
When I go?
Oh, boy.Don't tell me you've 
changed your mind.I already sent 'em a 
Kat, overjoyed, reaches over and gives him a hug.

What we can observe in the end is a balance in the relations of Kat with her father, and she with the others characters, what reflects accurately one aspect of the current social context - the search of the balance in the relations, especially between man and woman.


Both characters Katharina Minola and Katarina Stratford, for being adaptations of the same character from a literary composition, present great similarities between themselves, in special in their way of think about the individuals behavior, and the condition of the women in the family, marriage and high school - as contradiction to what were cultivated as adjusted behavior for these mechanisms. Another moment where the behaviors of the characters are similar is when they act in accordance with everything what they denied, going against their proper thoughts, as in the end of the film The taming of the shrew, where Katharina Minola from "The Taming of the Shrew" assumes publicly her submission to her husband Patruchio through a long speech where exalts the masculine supremacy and the fragility of the woman. In "10 Things I hate about You", Kat has also her moment of "surrender", when accepted to date Patrick Verona, they went to a party, and there she drinks and dance on a table. These two moments would represent the "taming" of the characters Katarinas, each one in their period.

However, despite it has similarities in the thoughts and the attitudes of the studied characters, it's necessary to explain that their behavior don't assume the same form in the two adaptations, that is, the behavior of Katarina Minola, in the version taming of the Shrew, 1967, is appropriate for the period in which the story is presented, century XVII, therefore the perspective of the society at that time was that the role of the woman was to serve their husbands without questionings. But in "10 things I hate about you", 1999, the feminine position in the society acquires another connotation, the woman searches not only extend her space in the life family, but either in trends, in the politics and in all the social sectors. And because of this, new conflicts are created and can be seen in the fight of Kat with her father for her right to take her proper decisions and in the High school when she refuses herself to act as the majority just to get popularity in this social environment. In the end of "10 Things I hate about You" we can observe that not only Kat changes her behavior, but all the others characters also have their moment of "surrender". This happens because in the current relations between parents and children or man and woman the repression mechanisms don't fit more, now there is a search of a balanced way for to live together in these relationships.

Therefore, we can say that the basic difference between the two characters is the historical context where they are inserted. Thus, we believe that the only transforming agent of the behaviors of the Katarinas characters, in the both versions, is the social environment. They had not been overwhelmed, but they had adjusted themselves to the standards of the society as form to acquire balance. 


MONTEIRO, Mário Feijó Borges. Adaptações de clássicos literários brasileiros: paráfases para o jovem leitor. 2002. Available in http://www.unicamp.br/iel/memoria/projetos/tese5.html

PRADO. Adaptação, uma leitura possível: estudo de Dom Quixote das Crianças, de Monteiro Lobato. In: COLE - Congresso de Leitura do Brasil, 2007, Campinas-SP. Anais do 16 COLE Congresso de Leitura do Brasil. Campinas, 2007.
Referências adicionais: Classificação do evento: Internacional; Brasil/ Português; Meio de divulgação: Digital

XAVIER, Cecília Mancili. O resgate da leitura de clássicos e a exploração. Revista multidisciplinar, nº 04. Dezembro de 2007. Available in http://www.uniesp.edu.br/revista4/publi-art2.php?codigo=8

MACHADO, Ana Maria. Questionário comparativo com as respostas dos escritores e adaptadores Ana Maria Machado e Jiro Takahashi. In MONTEIRO, Mário Feijó. Adaptações de clássicos literários brasileiros: paráfases para o jovem leitor. 2002. Anexxes 1 and 2. Tese 5b.2001 Available in http://www.unicamp.br/iel/memoria/projetos/tese5.html

CONY, Carlos Heitor. Entrevista com o escritor Carlos Heitor Cony. In MONTEIRO, Mário Feijó. Adaptações de clássicos literários brasileiros: paráfases para o jovem leitor. 2002. Anexxes 1 and 2. Tese 5b. 2002. Available in http://www.unicamp.br/iel/memoria/projetos/tese5.html

LOMBARDO, Nádia Aparecida Marquini, at al. Confrontos entre a obra clássica e a adaptação da obra "O crime do padre Amaro". Endurecer. Revista da educação. p. 45-50, n. 1. jan/jun. 2005.

LUTZ, Karen McCullah and SMITH, Kirsten 10 Things I Hate about You. Directed by Gil Jungger. Adapted from Williams Shalespeare play "The taming of the shrew".United States. 1999.

ZEFFIRELLI, Franco.The taming of the Shrew. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Adapted from Williams Shalespeare play "The taming of the shrew".United States. 1967