Shakespeare in Korea (Heirs & Taming of the Shrew)

In Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew”, there are many instances of courtship initiated by the males of the play. Almost 420 years later, there are many movies, shows and plays that shows males trying to court the love interest(s). This is especially true in the Korean movie “Heirs”. In “Heirs”, there are two male leads, Young Do and Kim Tan, who are both trying to court the love interest: Eun Sang. The two suitors use completely different methods that would seem illogical to most but had results different than what was to be expected. So although “Heirs” and “Taming of the Shrew” are from completely different time periods, they both use illogical means to woo love interest. This shows that the viewers of this movie believes that today’s society is more inclined to watch and believe that love is a game that is won by the most creative player.

In this scene, Kim Tan and Eun Sang get to school early and are by themselves. By this point in the relationship, Eun Sang and Kim Tan have* moved back to Korea and are now, coincidentally, are living together. Trying to pretend that she is from new money while still remaining as a normal student, Eun Sang has to distance herself from Kim Tan. Kim Tan is not pleased and tries to stay as close to Eun Sang as possible. Here, Eun Sang is walking a couple of steps in front of Kim Tan, allowing him to have a view of her neck.Kim Tan catches up to Eun Sang and takes her ponytail out. He ruffles her hair and most of it covers her face before saying,“ Keep your hair down. You look prettier with more of you face covered.” This quote is significant because just as Lucentio in Taming of the Shrew, Kim Tan does the most indirect way of giving the love interest a compliment. This can be shown in the play when Lucentio accepted the proposal that Tranio made to switch clothes with him to talk to Bianca instead of talking to her directly. “ Your fellow Tranio here, to save my life, Puts my apparel and my countenance on,And I for my escape have put on his;This relates back to the thesis because this is the set up that shows how creative both men are getting. Kim Tan will be hiding his true feelings by covering them up with rude remarks while Lucentio will be pretending to be a school teacher.

In this scene Eun Sang and Young Do are at a convenience store near Kim Tan’s house. Eun Sang, who had left the house early to get to school early, goes to the store to wake up but ends up half asleep on a table that Young Do inhabits. By this time, Young Do bullies Eun Sang at school but Eun Sang still stands strong which only makes Young Do like her even more and therefore bullies her more. Young Do attempts to wake Eun Sang up by shaking the table. After about thirty seconds of just staring at her and only receiving a groan as an answer, he proceeds to admit his true feelings to her stating “Why do you always sleep here? It makes we want to protect you.” This quote is significant because just as Petruchio, Young Do hides his true intentions under crude actions and words. This can be shown in the play when Petruchio states, “She ate no meat today nor none shall eat. Last night she slept not, nor tonight she shall not.” This is Petruchio hiding his true intentions, which is just to get the dowry, behind crude words and actions. This relates back to the thesis because it shows the other two suitors being creative to get the love interest.

In the end, the most creative man in ‘Heirs’ was Kim Tan, which won him the girl. Meanwhile, in ‘Taming of the Shrew’ both Lucentio and Petruchio won Bianca and Katherine respectively. These men were more creative and therefore won the girl. Congratulations Player, GAME OVER.

Comments (1)

Claire Byrnes (Student 2018)
Claire Byrnes

Well done with keeping the story of your movie clear. Perhaps the most creative suitor is seen as the one who cares about the love interest the most? My favorite part was how you began with “love is a game” and ended with “Congratulations Player, GAME OVER.”