Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Within the genre of the alternative Shakespearean universe, there exist two sub-genres. The two sub-genres are the Shakespeare language, contemporary era film and the contemporary language, contemporary era. Though films in these genres have existed since the dawn of filmmaking, they recently been marketed to more mainstream audiences. This thesis incorporates five ofthe more recent examples of these particular genres of Shakespearean film: William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, Hamlet, Richard III, 0, and Scotland, Pa. Each film is a unique take on the original Shakespearean work that it represents. The filmmakers include many of their own original ideas along with a re-imagining of the ideas taken directly from Shakespeare. In many cases the filmmakers have decided to tailor events and character motivations to fit the film that they have chosen to create. The choices, and their degree of success, must be analyzed in order to provide a complete analysis of the films. Many scholars and critics have viewed these films harshly upon their release and·again when subjected to critical study. This is not entirely fair, as the films cannot be judged based on their faithfulness to the original work alone. The audience has changed since the time in which Shakespeare lived and, as a result, some of the stories need to be changed as well.