I recently watched the movie Ten Things I Hate About You and realized that the majority of the characters demonstrate ego ethics throughout the film. Ego ethics is the ethical code that says you have to do the thing that is best for you. You don’t look at the greater good or how your actions will affect those around you. Many movie villains fall into this category. They want money or power and will do whatever it takes to get it. Ten Things I Hate About You is different because it is not only the villain who acts in accordance with ego ethics.
The movie is the story of two sisters, Kat and Bianca Stratford, whose father has a rule that neither girl is allowed to date until they have graduated. Their father alters his rule to say that Bianca, the popular pretty girl, is allowed to date when Kat, the rebellious brooding one, does. Fearing she will never be able to date, Bianca convinces her French tutor Cameron to find Kat a boyfriend. Cameron enlists the help of pretty boy Joey to pay the feared Patrick to take Kat on a date. The movie evolves from this point into a series of humorous incidents.
The movie is interesting from a philosophical point of view because every character acts in their own interest, despite their stated motives. Bianca convinces Cameron to find Kat a date so that she can date Joey. Cameron agrees to help so that he can ask Bianca out himself. Joey pays Patrick so that he can take Bianca out. And last but not least, Patrick takes Kat out for the money. These overlapping motives create the entertainment as the characters compete for their various goals.
The two scenes below are some of the more obvious instances of ego ethics in the movie. In the first scene, Bianca shamelessly uses Cameron to achieve her own goals. He is enamored with her and she cannot even remember his name. Yet she uses his feelings to manipulate poor Cameron into helping her. The second clip is the scene where Joey approaches Cameron and proposes his idea. Patrick blatantly states that it is “not my problem,” and only after he learns he will be paid does he even consider the idea.
Bianca and Cameron: http://youtu.be/PsoLJqwFchE?t=5m26s
Joey and Patrick: http://youtu.be/EgiUZjb5mSA