Multimedia Shakespeare

Course information


Multimedia Shakespeare


Ágnes Sávai-Matuska

Course code








Course description

Short description

The aim of this course is threefold. 1: we will have a look at original dramas by Shakespeare from points of view that could have been relevant to a contemporary audience in the theatrical context of the early modern. 2: we will try to see how the Shakespearean plays can be re-visioned through different media, mainly film in the late 20th-early 21st century. 3: during the discussions the major theoretical emphasis will be laid on questions such as adaptation theory, the relationship between verbal and visual representations, and the question of intermediality. Experimental journeys will be made into alternative Shakespeare-adaptations (music, picture book, manga), and we will also have a look into paintings and poems based on Shakespearean characters from the plays discussed. The dramas we are going to discuss (together with their adaptations in various media) are the following: Richard III, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest.







Requirements to get the grade

Students will have to read a drama or watch a movie for each class. Texts of the dramas discussed should be brought to class.


For each class, students have to prepare a reading/screening journal. The journals should be about 1 page long, double spaced, and based on the impressions of the students regarding the film/drama, NOT the summaries of the plot. NO secondary sources are required to write the journal. It is perfectly acceptable if you single out a few issues that you find important or just personally interesting regarding the given drama or film, and write about that. At the end of the journal include 2-3 questions regarding the text/film you write about. These may be questions that you don’t know how to answer.


Each student will have to give one 10-15 minute long presentation chosen from a list of secondary sources related to the topics discussed in class, provided by the teacher. These secondary sources are scholarly articles, and it is impossible to paraphrase the whole text in 10-15 minutes, so you will have to analyse them, and include only the most important issues in your presentation, and present these in a logical and comprehensible manner. Handouts, PPPs and/or writing on blackboard are encouraged. Reading and outlining the article once will not be enough to prepare for this task. If you have any questions or need help in putting together the presentation, feel free to ask for help in my office hours.


There will be one mid-term test (10 April) on theoretical issues discussed in class. Students will also have to prepare one end-term paper during the exam period (6-8 double spaced pages, min. 5 secondary sources).

Grading: class attendance & participation in discussion 10 %, presentation 10%, reading journals 30%, mid-term test 25%, end-term paper 20%. Absence: twice.


Reading list

Richard III

Kastan, David Scott. “’Proud Majesty Made a Subject’: Representing Authority on the Early Modern Stage.” In David Scott Kastan. Shakespeare after Theory. London and New York: Routledge, 1999. 99-116.


Richard III (dir. Richard Loncraine, 1995)

Leitch, Thomas M. “Twelve Fallacies in Contemporary Adaptation Theory.” Criticism 45.2 (2003) 149-171.

Freedman, Barbara. “Critical junctures in Shakespeare screen history: the case of Richard III.” In Russell Jackson ed. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, 47-71.




Hubert, Judd. “Hamlet: Actor, Student Prince, and Avenger. In Judd Hubert. Metatheater. The Example of Shakespeare. University of Nebraska Press, 1991. 88-105.

Weimann, Robert. “Playing with a Difference: Revisiting ‘Pen’ and ‘Voice’ in Shakespeare’s Theater.”Shakespeare Quarterly. 50 (1999). 415-432.



Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (dir. Tom Stoppard, 1990)


Hamlet (dir. Michael Almereyda, 2000)

Harry Keyishian. “Shakespeare and the movie genre: the case of Hamlet. In Russell Jackson ed. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, 72-86.

Kliman Bernice W. “Hamlet Productions Starring Beale, Hawke, and Darling From the Perspective of Performance History. In Dutton, Richard and Jean E. Howard eds. A Companion to Shakespeare’s Tragedies. Blackwell, 2005. 135-157


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Wiles, David. The Carnivalesque in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In Ronald Knowles ed. Shakespeare and Carnival. London: Macmillan, 1998, 61-82.

Belsey, Catherine. “Peter Quince’s Ballad: Memory, Psychoanalysis, History and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In Catherine Belsey. Shakespeare in Theory and Practice. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream (dir. Michael Hoffman, 1999)

Hodgdon, Barbara. “Wooing and Winning (Or Not): Film/Shakespeare/Comedy and the Syntax of Genre.” In Hodgon, Barbara and W.B. Worthen eds. A Companion to Shakespeare’s Comedies. Blackwell, 2005.

Donaldson, Peter.Bottom and the Gramaphone: Media, Class and Comedy in Michael Hoffman’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare Survey. 2008, Vol. 61, 22-35.


Romeo and Juliet


Snyder, Susan. “Ideology and the feud in Romeo and JulietShakespeare Survey. 1996, Vol. 49, 87-97.

Stamm, R. “The first meeting of the lovers in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.English Studies. Feb 1986, Vol. 67, Issue 1, 2- 24.


Romeo + Juliet (dir. Baz Luhrmann, 1996)

Burnett, Mark Thornton. “Contemporary Film Versions of the Tragedies.” In Dutton, Richard and Jean E. Howard eds. A Companion to Shakespeare’s Tragedies. Blackwell, 2005. 262-283.

Scott, Lindsey. “’Closed in a Dead Man's Tomb’: Juliet, Space, and the Body in Franco Zeffirelli's and Baz Luhrmann's Films of Romeo and Juliet.” .Literature Film Quarterly. 2008, Vol. 36 Issue 2, 137-146.


The Tempest

Brown, Paul. “'This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine': The Tempest and the discourse of colonialism”. In Dollimore, Jonathan and Alan Sinfield, Political Shakespeare: New essays in cultural materialism. Ithaca and London: Cornell U.P., 1985, 48-71.


Prospero’s Books (dir. Peter Greenaway, 1991)



Suggested reading list