Feminist Shakespeares: Adapting Shakespeare for a Modern Audience in the Hogarth Shakespeare Project
The Hogarth Shakespeare Project presents a way to view Shakespeare’s plays through a different lens. These books allow for a feminist reading of Shakespeare, looking at some of Shakespeare’s ill-treated female characters to construct a new idea of female characterization. Three of the plays adapted, <i>The Winter’s Tale</i>, <i>The Tempest</i>, and <i>The Taming of the Shrew</i>, were adapted by female authors. By investigating how these plays are being adapted for a more contemporary audience, with modern conceptions of feminism and gender roles, we can gain insight as to how these concepts have changed since Shakespeare’s time. By looking at these modern adaptations, we can interrogate how modern audiences as a whole conceptualize and, potentially, idealize Shakespeare, as well as understanding the progression of treatment of women in contemporary culture since Shakespeare’s time. The novels addressed in this project are <i>The Gap of Time</i> by Jeannette Winterson, <i>Hag-Seed</i> by Margaret Atwood, and <i>Vinegar Girl</i> by Anne Tyler. The project concludes that, of the three, <i>Vinegar Girl</i> does the most effective job addressing the problematic aspects of its adapted play in a new way, distinguishing it from previous adaptations of <i>The Taming of the Shrew</i>. This project also investigates the role that adaptation theory plays in addressing Shakespeare adaptations, particularly the Hogarth Shakespeare Project.