Student Life

Shakespeare inspires popular movies

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nearly every high school student has heard the name ‘Shakespeare’ mentioned during their English class. During their high school career McNicholas students will read at least three Shakespearian plays, including Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet.

Shakespeare has been called one of greatest writers in history, and the themes in his plays are said to be “timeless.” Yet, many students seem to dread reading Shakespeare.

“As soon as something is considered a classic I think people lose interest,” junior Madison Hartwell said. “They expect it to be old and unrelated to their lives. Plus there’s the language barrier with [the difference in English]”

What students may not know is that they’ve seen many of Shakespeare’s stories over and over again outside of English class. Numerous Hollywood directors have set out to disguise the plotlines into stories teens will love, and many of them have succeeded. For any student who likes West Side Story, the Lion King, Ten Things I Hate About You, or She’s the Man, they owe Shakespeare some credit. Multiple students were surprised when they discovered these movies were based on Shakespeare plays. “I love those movies. I wouldn’t have thought they were based on Shakespeare,” junior Katie Cornell said. “I think I appreciate Shakespeare a little more knowing that.”

Through these movies and others based on Shakespeare’s plays, directors and writers have made it possible for teenagers to enjoy Shakespeare and relate to it. Hiltz agrees. “I like Shakespeare because I think that stories have meaningful messages that still apply to many situations today,” Hiltz said. “I think a lot of students just don’t take the time to appreciate Shakespeare.”

Multiple students were surprised when they discovered these movies were based on Shakespeare plays. “I love those movies. I wouldn’t have thought they were based on Shakespeare,” junior Katie Cornell said. “I think I appreciate Shakespeare a little more knowing that.”

Through these movies and others based on Shakespeare’s plays, directors and writers have made it possible for teenagers to enjoy Shakespeare and relate to it. Hiltz agrees. “I like Shakespeare because I think that stories have meaningful messages that still apply to many situations today,” Hiltz said. “I think a lot of students just don’t take the time to appreciate Shakespeare.”

Spoiler alert!

She’s the Man

This film, starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum, is based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Both are stories of mistaken identity. In She’s the Man, the main character Viola (Bynes) disguises herself as her brother Sebastian so she can go his school, Illyria, and prove she’s good enough to play on the boys’ soccer team. She befriends Duke (Tatum), her brother’s roommate who also plays soccer, and tries to help him with his paralyzing crush on Olivia. In the meantime, Olivia falls in love with Sebastian, who is actually Viola, and Viola realizes she has feelings for Duke, who thinks she is a guy.

Twelfth Night’s plot is very similar, right down to the character names. In the play, Viola survives a shipwreck, and disguises herself as a man so she can work for the Duke of Illyria, Orsino. Duke Orsino is in love with a girl named Olivia, and Viola delivers a messenger to Olivia for him. Olivia then becomes obsessed with Viola’s male character, while Viola has fallen in love with the Duke. Both have the same happy ending: the Duke realizes he loves Viola, and Olivia ends up with the real Sebastian.

Ten Things I Hate About You

This 1999 movie starring Heath Ledger is based loosely on Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew. In Ten Things I Hate About You, Cameron starts at Padua High School, and almost immediately falls in love with Bianca. Unfortunately, Bianca’s father, who is a doctor specializing in teen pregnancy, does not allow Bianca to date until her older sister Kat does. Cameron and his friend Michael make it their mission to find the perfect guy for Kat, and set their sights on bad-boy Patrick Verona (Ledger). Patrick is paid to take Kat out, but realizes by the end of the movie that he is actually in love with Kat. Throughout the movie Cameron and Joey, a very popular guy at school, fight for Bianca’s heart, since she is allowed to date. Cameron wins her over in the end.

In the play, most of the characters’ names are different, but the basic plot is similar. Lucentio (Cameron) moves to the city of Padua and tries to court Bianca, along with two other suitors. Petrucio (Patrick) also arrives in Padua looking to find a wife. Hortensio, another suitor of Bianca and friend of Petrucio, sets Petrucio up with Katerina (Kat), because Bianca cannot be courted until Katerina is married. Katerina rejects Petrucio repeatedly, but eventually they become married and Petrucio begins ‘taming his shrew.’ Through much confusion and some mistaken identity, Lucentio does eventually marry Bianca.

West Side Story

This 1950s musical is based off one of Shakespeare’s most popular works, Romeo and Juliet. In West Side Story, the Montague and the Capulet feud is translated into two New York City street gangs, the Sharks, made up of the Puerto Rican teen population, and the Jets, made up of the white teen population. Maria, the Puerto Rican equivalent of Juliet, falls in love with Tony, a Jet that her family does not like. The two meet at a rumble of the two gangs and are immediately drawn to each other, even though Maria’s family has tried to set her up with Chino. After their first meeting, Tony meets Maria on her fire escape. The two families and the gangs are outraged by their relationship, and the gangs have a rumble, and Bernardo and Rif are both killed. In the tragic ending, Maria’s friend Anita delivers a message to Tony that Chino has shot Maria. Tony goes looking for Chino, begging to be killed as well. Maria finally finds Tony right before he encounters Chino, and Chino shoots him.

Maria and Tony’s love story plays out much like Romeo and Juliet’s romance. Romeo and Juliet’s love is forbidden because their families hate each other and Juliet is betrothed to Paris. The fire escape scene is very comparable to Shakespeare’s famous balcony scene. Juliet goes against her family’s wishes to be with Romeo, and the feud gets more violent as a result. Tybalt and Mercutio are killed in a brawl, like Riff and Bernardo. The major difference between the two is the ending. In the play, Juliet fakes her death to escape her family’s anger so she is free to run away with Romeo, and when Romeo finds out he kills himself in anguish. Juliet then kills herself as well, because she can’t stand to live without Romeo.

Also, the movie Bring It On: In It to Win It is based on West Side Story, so it is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet by association.

The Lion King

The Lion King is an animated Disney movie and a Broadway musical that follows the life of Simba, a lion growing up near Pride Rock in Africa. While Simba is just a cub, his uncle Scar kills his father Mufasa and takes over the lion kingdom. Simba runs away because Scar made him believe he killed his father, and he spends numerous years living with Timone the meerkat and Pumba the wart hog in the jungle. After many years, the lion kingdom is in ruins and Simba’s childhood friend Nala finds him and convinces him to come back to Pride Rock. Simba fights Scar and prevails, making him King of Pride Rock and restoring order to the kingdom. In the end, Simba and Nala are married and have a daughter named Kiara.

Simba’s character is based on Prince Hamlet in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. His father, King Hamlet, was killed by his uncle Claudius because, like Scar, Claudius wanted to take the throne. Hamlet eventually kills Claudius by stabbing him with a poisoned sword, and takes back his kingdom. There are also some similarities between Nala in The Lion King and Ophelia, who is Hamlet’s love interest in the play.

About Sarah Ruwe

Senior Sarah Ruwe is an Advanced Journalism student and a staff reporter. She enjoys cheerleading and has been on the McNicholas cheerleading squad for four years. She is involved in Service Club, Spirit Club, and is a McNicholas ambassador. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow The Milestone and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,641 other followers

Follow us on Twitter!

Photo of the Week

Seniors Mitch Kling and Haley Adkins are crowned Homecoming King and Queen at the Sept. 30 Homecoming game against the Caroll Patriots. The Rockets defeated the Patriots 28-0.

%d bloggers like this: