“How does the relationship between The Tempest and Hag-Seed show how composers are influenced by another text’s concepts and values?”
The relationship between The Tempest and Hag-seed, written by William Shakespeare and Margret Atwood shows how composers are influenced by other text’s concepts and values through textual conversation. Atwood’s appropriation of The Tempest reflects and adapts the text to a post-modern contextualisation whilst also enhancing resonances and dissonances between the Jacobean era and contemporary society. The textual conversation between the texts also demonstrates concepts and values held by the composers such as the effects of power and its corruptive nature and the power of language.
In The Tempest, whilst Shakespeare demonstrates the effects of power mainly through Prospero’s characterisation, the corruptive nature of power is also demonstrated through Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo’s plot against Prospero. Shakespeare demonstrates Prospero’s controlling nature in a number of different ways including the controlling love he has for his daughter Miranda and the possessive nature in which he treats Caliban but most importantly the effects of power are shown through Prospero’s ability to control people through his magic. These effects are explicitly shown through Prospero’s reflection on his plans, “Now does my project gather to a head. My charms crack not”. Shakespeare uses possessive language to show the how Prospero believes that he is always in control and can govern anything and shows the effects of the power through his later realisation in Act 5, “One of their kind, that relish all as sharply Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art?”. This later realisation shows how Prospero understands that by having control over everything it makes him tyrannical. Additionally, Shakespeare also demonstrates the corruptive nature of power through the plot to kill Prospero, “I say by sorcery he got this isle; From me he got it. If thy greatness will revenge it on him”. This plot demonstrates how lust for power leads to corruption and Stephano is used by Shakespeare to question whether it is natural for a person to long for power or not and to what extent they will go to get it.
Similar to The Tempest, Atwood demonstrates the effects of power and its corruptive nature but does this through the characterisation of Felix and Tony. In Hag-seed, Felix displays many of Prospero’s characteristics but in a modern context. Like Prospero, Felix demonstrates the effects of power but does this through control as a director rather than through supernatural means. Atwood, to a similar effect as Shakespeare, shows the effects power has had on Felix through the obsession he has with theatre and his need of absolute control over everything around him. The effects of power are explicitly shown when Felix states, “I’m in charge of the overall production, and the final say is mine”. Atwood uses possessive terminology to firstly s...