Mean Girls, Shakespeare Style

Today is the tenth anniversary of the iconic teen movie, Mean Girls’ release. In honor of this occasion, my blog post for today covers the similarities between Mean Girls and Julius Caesar. Before I begin my comparison here’s a direct reference to Julius Caesar in the movie to get you in the Mean Girls spirit:

In the Mean Girls segment shown in the video above, Plastics clique member Gretchen’s rant proves the similarity between the plot of Mean Girls and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Her rant is literally a direct response to the original plot of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which is significant because it reflects the power struggles that happen in The Plastics after Cady successfully destroys Regina’s powerful influence on her peers. Gretchen, through pretending to be Brutus is showing that her experiences make her able to identify with the plot of Julius Caesar. She pretends to be Brutus at a point in the movie when Cady successfully turns the Plastics against each other, which leads to the queen bee being kicked out of her own clique, which was the same fate as Caesar.

The leader of The Plastics, Regina George is a lot like Julius Caesar, because they are both tyrants and have a lot of influence and power over their peers. Regina George is correctly labeled “teen royalty” because she is the most popular girl in the school and the queen bee, therefore she’s the ruler of her own “kingdom”, her high school peers. Julius Caesar rules an entire kingdom as well, the kingdom of Rome. Cady is Brutus, because there are similarities between the relationships between Cady and Regina and Brutus and Caesar. Cady becomes friends with Regina and gains her trust. Brutus gains Caesar’s trust in the same way: by becoming his reliable right hand man. This trust leads to the same consequence: Cady and Brutus destroying the tyrant’s influence on their kingdom. There’s only one key difference: Brutus actually kills Caesar and Cady “kills” Regina in a metaphorical way, by making sure she no longer has anything that makes her the powerful queen bee she’s always been.

The turning point in both Mean Girls and Julius Caesar is identical: jealousy over the tyrant’s romantic fling that causes them to have a strong enough level of hatred towards the tyrant to act on their intentions to destroy their influence. In Mean Girls, when Regina is caught actively pursuing the main character Cady’s crush Aaron, which makes her interested in getting revenge on Regina. In Julius Caesar, it’s Caesar’s romantic fling with Cleopatra that makes Brutus jealous enough to kill Caesar.

Because the focus is on backstabbing the tyrant who victimized their subjects in both Mean Girls and Julius Caesar, there’s definitely a Shakespeare influence in Mean Girls. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if one of Tina Fey’s influences was Shakespeare when she wrote the screenplay ten years ago. Happy Mean Girls Anniversary everyone! 

Have any other fetch similarities between Shakespeare plays and Mean Girls to share? Share them in the comments section below!

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