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Ovid and Adaptation in Early Modern English Theatre$
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Lisa S. Starks

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474430067

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474430067.001.0001

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Medea’s Afterlife: Encountering Ovid in The Tempest

Medea’s Afterlife: Encountering Ovid in The Tempest

(p.113) Chapter 6 Medea’s Afterlife: Encountering Ovid in The Tempest
Ovid and Adaptation in Early Modern English Theatre

John S. Garrison

Edinburgh University Press

Scholars continually return to Shakespeare’s debt to Ovid in order to draw new insight into the playwright’s work. However, the relationship between The Tempest and Ovid has received relatively little critical attention. In the play’s final act, Prospero delivers a powerful speech that is taken from the sorceress Medea’s incantation in Book 7 of Metamorphoses. With these two iterations of the speech in mind, this chapter explores how performativity and literary history intertwine in the play. This line of inquiry calls into question the distinctions that scholars have previously seen between Prospero and the witch Sycorax, as well as opens opportunities to explore the effects of casting a female lead as “Prospera” in Julie Taymor’s recent film adaption The Tempest (2010).

Keywords:   Ovid, Shakespeare, Golding, Metamorposes, The Tempest, Medea, performance, film, adaptation, hauntology

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