'A king of infinite space’: Shakespearean Spaces in Theatre and Comics

Eleonora Fois

Abstract


As one of the pillars of the Western canon, Shakespeare has been a source of inspiration for many forms of popular culture: comics make no exception, having often used Shakespearean plays as a base for adaptations whose degree of fidelity to the source text may vary considerably (Kill Shakespeare is a recent example).

The trans-medial operation which turns Shakespeare’s plays into comics is complicated by the form of the plays themselves, by the theatrical tradition embedded in and shaping the source text:  the textual and spatial norms of comics are certainly challenged by the three-dimensionality of the theatrical performance and by the use of dramatic words, essential to evoke the spaces of the plot but excessively abundant for a comic balloon.

Space, however, can also play an important role in shaping a comic narrative which interprets Shakespeare’s plays in innovative ways, devising unexpected approaches to the target medium. Analyzing versions from Classics Illustrated, Topolino, as well as Zarate’s and DeLuca’s adaptations of Shakespearean plays, this contribution aims at disclosing the way comics combine the space of the page and the space of the stage, embracing the theatrical nature of Shakespeare’s plays without forgetting the requirement of the target medium.


Keywords


adaptation; Shakespeare; Hamlet; comics; theatre; transmediality

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/3237

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-22683

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