Short Paper #2: Re-Writings and Appropriations
On pages 332-350 of the Norton Critical edition of The Tempest, there are a series of poems which are re-write/appropriate elements of Shakespeare’s final play. Since Shakespeare is truly a ‘global’ author, his works inform how we see the world—and specifically, how writers and poets see it. Thus, they re-imagine Shakespeare through the lens of their own poetic vision, shaping Shakespeare’s characters and metaphors to encompass new worlds. From films, Chinese opera, graphic novels, and elsewhere, Shakespeare is finding his way into forms/genres he never before imagined.
To help you understand how these re-appropriations work, I want you to choose ONE of the poems in this selection and discuss how it re-imagines/re-interprets the characters, themes, or ideas in Shakespeare’s play. In your paper, you should do most, if not all, of the following:
- Explain what idea or element of the play the poem is riffing on
- Close read elements of the poem so we can ‘see’ the poet’s ideas
- Compare this to elements/passages of The Tempest
- Explain why the poet used The Tempest as a necessary vehicle for his/her message; in other words, why this play and not some other?
- Consider what about The Tempest makes it such a mythic play that allows so many poets, from different times and lands, to draw their own ideas from it
On Monday, April 15th (the day the paper is due) we will discuss this paper in class. For once, I want you to share your work with the class, so that students who did similar poems can compare notes. Attendance is mandatory today, so don’t skip class and turn in the paper in my box an hour or two later. A paper that is not turned in during class (with the exception of school trips or excused absences) is late. I’m being heavy handed here since I know some people will avoid class seeing it as a “blow off” day. It’s not—I really want to discuss the play and share our collective knowledge and ideas. So please come!
REQUIREMENTS: 4-5 pages double spaced; all quotations following MLA format; cite the poems and the play using the Norton edition: ex, (Norton, 332); due Monday, April 15th in class. As always, please e-mail me with questions or talk to me in my office.