Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Sara Deats, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Lagretta Lenker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rita Ciresi, M.F.A.


Tempest, Adaptation, Criticism, Appropriation, Theory


Literature is always in a state of evolution. Words change; the way writers write changes. Even actual literary works transform. William Shakespeare manipulated numerous classic works of literature to make extraordinary dramas for both his lifetime and eras since. Much as Shakespeare adapted literature to suit his purposes, writers today are constantly utilizing story lines introduced by the bard over four-hundred years ago in various modern-day mediums. Shakespeare wrote most of his works for the entertainment of the masses; Shakespeare's works are adapted today for both entertainment and academic endeavors. Certainly, a Klingon (Star Trek) version of arguably one of the greatest tragedies of all time, Hamlet, may not seem appropriate in an academic debate on the original. However, there are some truly engaging adaptations that do have some legitimacy in academia.

Using past and current trends in adaptations, this thesis will explore the concept that Shakespearean adaptations are, in fact, their own school of literary theory. It will examine the academic climate surrounding an assortment of adaptations in regards to how literary theory correlates to each example. Multiple genres of adaptations exist (i.e. film, novels, plays, etc.) and will thus be addressed along with multiple time periods. This thesis will examine why certain changes were made from the original text and how literary theory may have affected those changes. Finally, the thesis will establish a process for the creation of a theory-based adaptation and, utilizing this process, develop a one-act play based on William Shakespeare's The Tempest.