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10 Things I Hate About You Is Actually A Re-Skinned Shakespeare Play

Believe it or not, Shakespeare, who wrote his plays several centuries ago, is still the inspiration for many modern movies. Of course, there are apparent film renditions of Shakespeare plays such as ”Romeo and Juliet," "Macbeth," and "The Tempest." Still, plenty of modernized films alter the setting, costumes, dialogue, and other elements to morph Shakespeare's original scripts into not always immediately recognizable adaptations. 

Examples of films based on Shakespeare plays include "The Lion King" (inspired by "Hamlet"), "She's the Man" (inspired by "Twelfth Night"), and "West Side Story" (inspired by "Romeo and Juliet"). Even the Netflix series "The Sandman" is connected to Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Although these films and shows are updated versions of Shakespeare's plays, they still portray significant themes and plots. For example, although "West Side Story" takes place in New York City in the twentieth century, it still features a tragic romance forbidden due to the characters' warring families. 

It turns out that "10 Things I Hate About You" is also based on one of Shakespeare's plays. But which one? 

10 Things I Hate About You is an Adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew

Shakespeare wrote several of what would today be called "romantic comedies." According to Shakespeare Magazine, "10 Things I Hate About You" is an adaptation of "The Taming of the Shrew." The play's basic premise is that Bianca cannot get married until her snarky, undesirable older sister Katherine does, so the characters begin "taming" her for marriage. 

In "10 Things I Hate About You," the basic plot is the same, with Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik) unable to date until Kat (Julia Stiles) does. Therefore, Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who wants to date Bianca, convinces Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to ask out said sister. Through this process, despite the odds, Kat changes, and Patrick and Kat develop real feelings for each other. 

Although updated, "10 Things I Hate About You" features several Shakespearean allusions, including how Bianca and Kat share the last name Stratford, a reference to Shakespeare's hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon. Or how Patrick's last name, Verona, is the setting of "Romeo and Juliet." Additionally, one character in the film, Mandella (Susan May Pratt), is obsessed with Shakespeare (via Insider). The fact that the film is brimming with Shakespearean Easter eggs is part of the untold truth of "10 Things I Hate About You."