Probably every human has heard about William Shakespeare, but how many have read his plays and even more important how many have actually understood them?
When I discovered the Hogarth Shakespeare project I thought that this is one of the best ideas I’ve heard about in the last years. You might ask: “what is this project about?” It is a mission to recreate Shakespear’s plays, in easier and modern ways to understand, in books written by acclaimed and bestselling writers. I decided to give them a chance, so I started with the first one I could find in the bookstores.
Hag Seed or the reinterpretation of The Tempest
1. For those of you, who haven’t read the original version of the play, I will make a very very small presentation of some of the characters and plot.
First of all, we have Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, who is stranded along with his baby daughter Miranda, for 12 years on an island. This was done by Prospero’s brother Antonio, with the help of Alonso, the King of Naples. On the island, Prospero, who has magical powers, manages to free a spirit, named Ariel, and control him as he will to protect himself and his daughter from Canibal, a deformed monster. He also seeks revenge and creates a magical tempest that attacks the ship in which his brother, Antonio and his allies are, making them believe they are shipwrecked and trapped on an island.
Suddenly revenge is so close he can actually taste it. It tastes like steak, rare.
2. The main character from “Hag Seed” is Felix a very appreciated Artistic Direct at a Theater Festival. After his 3 old daughter (Miranda) dies, he is obsessed with creating the perfect play in which his child could reborn. Before he manages to show the public his interpretation of “The Tempest” he is obliged to retire due to his treachery assistant who wants his job. After living in exile, he receives a part-time job at a prison where he has to work with prisoners and teach them the basics of literature. Instead of this, Felix teachs them the insights of the theatre and helps them understand Shakespeare.
From my point of view, the original play is not an easy one to understand if you are not at least a Literature student, because, at one point, Shakespeare starts and alternates the plot in subplots. So this is why Margaret Atwood makes such an amazing job with her novel “Hag Seed”. She makes you really understand what Shakespeare wanted to say with his masterpiece. I hope that the reast of the books from the Hogarth Project ar at least as good as this one, because I intend to read them all.