Shakespeare is a hallmark of English literature and the focus for many adaptations. From children’s books to teenage romantic comedies, Western culture is filled with proliferating versions of his plays. Shakespeare adaption is not limited to the west though as other cultures have also taken up his works. South Korea is one such place and gaining attention too through director Yang Jung-Ung. Yang is notable for including shamanistic images in his plays, but why reference the oldest spiritual practice of Korea in a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s plays? Examining Yang Jung-Ung’s Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the role of shamanism in his adaptations reveals similarities to Shakespeare’s use of Christianity in the original plays. Shamanism in Yang’s work ultimately makes a larger statement about Korea’s modern identity though and helps explain why Korean play directors choose to adapt Shakespeare.
Dr. Stephannie Gearhart
First Advisor Department
Second Advisor Department
German, Russian, and East Asian Languages
Friend, Grace, "Shakespeare and Shamanism" (2019). Honors Projects. 459.