Rewriting Shakespeare: Discussing Postmodern Drama Elements in Two Feature Film Adaptations of William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”

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This article is going to discuss and compare two film adaptations of William Shakespeare’s classical drama The Tempest (1611). Julie Taymor’s The Tempest (2010) and Derek Jarman’s The Tempest (1979) are two peculiar representations specifically rewriting gender, race and power issues original text has dealt with. Reason behind the selection of The Tempest (1611) in this reseaarch is its specificity in the Western Drama in terms of having fragments from mythology, ancient Greek Drama, Latin Drama, Romance, Neoclassicism and Symbolism as well as discussing modern and universal issues like gender, race and power. The time Shakespeare wrote this play coincided with the beginning of English colonialism. In general, it rallies with the classical approaches of tragedy and comedy through combining their elements. The Tempest may be regarded as the initiation of the post-colonial drama. Adaptation of The Tempest into cinema and theatre is a long journey. In this study, Derek Jarman’s and Julie Taymor’s film adaptations are going to be discussed and compared regarding their postmodern drama elements. Both films are selected for analysis because of their focus on sexual identities. In order to contribute to previous studies regarding Shakespeare’s play The Tempest as a postmodern play because it contains themes that he puts at the center of postmodernism, as a result of the findings obtained at the end of the study, it is revealed that Tempest is a text that can be rewritten in accordance with the socio-cultural position and stance in the historical context. It can address audience of today with its themes and narrative and can be adapted to a postmodern film with its timelessness. The other conclusion of this research is that while Shakespeare’s play The Tempest was rewritten with a queer gaze in Derek Jarman’s adaptation in 1979, it was seen that the text was rewritten with a feminist discourse and narrative in Julie Taymor’s adaptation.


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