Five Mean Girls Characters And Their Shakespeare Counterparts

By Jean Jackson

Mean Girls is the mantra of a high school in the 00’s; it is what Clueless did for 90’s valley girls, what Sixteen Candles did for 80’s hopeful romantics, and it validated a generation.

The depiction of a crappy high school, the struggle to both blend in and stand out and attempting to fit in, almost perfectly embodies high school in the mid to late 00’s. We’ve all had some Cady Heron falling-in-a-trashcan, Gretchen Weiner outbreaks to murder our best friend, or Regina George getting hit by a bus moments (OK, maybe not).

Before movies or TV, though, women might have struggled to find a character that validates their slutty tendencies, strange abilities or lust for power and equality. Shakespeare, with delicate subtlety and the lowest form of entertainment at the time, achieved this notion. Eye rolls aside, he was quite the feminist and wrote strong leading ladies that made men ponder for half a second and think “Huh, maybe my wife COULD kill someone” or “Wow, she really does not want to marry anyone” and “fourteen is definitely not too young to get married.” It is that split second of thinking that has encouraged women to wear pants, write movies, and embrace their sexuality. So below, enjoy some of Billy’s most famous ladies; saddled up and portrayed by the characters of Mean Girls.

1. Karen Smith is Juliet from Romeo and Juliet 

Karen is Juliet, the desperate and simple slut. I avoid the term stupid because both are naive and rely on their looks for life, which isn’t necessarily stupid but it is simple. Both gravitate towards that which she cannot have, Karen with her cousin and Juliet to her families sworn enemies. While Karen is more of a subplot, she is a plastic, Could Juliet also predict the weather with her breasts? Does Karen have a nurse who comically tends to all her needs? Do they both love Taco Bell? Was Juliet a mouse for Halloween? The answer is, of course, yes to both.

Karens’ comical nurse is arguably herself, but Tina Fey and Amy Pohler might provide a small insight as to the role the nurse might play today. Juliet couldn’t keep it in her pants for two days to her raging hormones could be just a phase. At fourteen, obviously you’re going to run away with the first guy who hides in your garden and professes his love after only seeing your masked face. Karen fakes getting sick to avoid hanging out with Regina, Juliet pretends to die to be with Romeo, they’re practically the same person.

2. Cady Heron is Miranda from The Tempest

Cady is Miranda from The Tempest. Shy, unassuming, and unsure what the Backstreet Boys are, they both share a common struggle to fit in without sounding lame. Both were raised in isolation; Cady got to hang out with elephants and giraffes in Africa, while Miranda is stranded on an island with her “sorcerer” father and an imp-like creature, Caliban.

They both have a quiet sense of self, and defned themselves when it is most needed, although Miranda does it with more grace by fighting off Calibans attempts to rape her, Katy just takes the blame for the burn book. Both dedicate themselves to the purpose of their fight, Katy to make friends and Miranda to be

3. Regina George is Lady Macbeth

Regina is Lady Macbeth. Both are crude, power-hungry, relentless, and excellent at lacrosse. Had Lady B the opportunity to play lacrosse, she’d relish in the injuries given to others, but then freak out about the grass stains acquired. Regina gets what she wants, example kicking her parents out of their room because she wanted a bigger one, Aaron Samuels and Shane Oman at the same time, and pretty much everything else.

Lady B is willing to mash her infant’s skull in, if she promised it to her husband. Both have a blunt vulgarity, but both also prose the perpetual debate of the difference between acting like a bitch and acting like a man. Feminist double standard complaining aside, both are the best kind of betch and you know you’d want to watch them fight. It would be, in a sense, epic, bloody, and maybe hilarious.

4. Janis is Kate from Taming of the Shrew

Janis is also a struggle. The most obvious answer would be Kate, from the Taming of the Shrew, because she kicks ass and doesn’t get fooled by gay men who make out with her. I’m looking at you, Juliet/Karen. There are so many prominent strong female characters in Shakespeare, especially mouthy loud women.

Julia Stiles perfectly exemplifies my justification for this in 10 Things I Hate About You, because that movie is based on Taming of the Shrew, and her and Janis could be best friends, possibly. So maybe Janis is

5. Gretchen is Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing

Gretchen is also difficult. She is strong willed, but also somewhat desperate to stay in the Plastics, despite her unhappiness. Many might disagree, but she is Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing. Her perhaps most famous line, “Kill Caudio!!” is pretty close to “SOMEONE SHOULD JUST STAB CAESER.” We discredit Gretchen because she is so eager to be plastic, yet she falls behind and lets others take reign when Regina is thrown out.

Beatrice would not so easily let that happen, although, she too succumbs to what she actively attempts to deny but it’s more worthwhile than clinging to fake friends, cause, ya know, love and stuff. Regardless, Beatrice’s wit and Gretchen’s ability to get out of things “I don’t think my father, the inventor of the toaster strudel, would be too pleased to hear about this.”


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