The Tempest

Shakespeare, Wilcox, and Taymor: The Tempest and the Concept of Adaptation College

When analyzing two film adaptations of William Shakespeare’s 1610 play The Tempest, it becomes clear that the word “adaptation” is merely a broad term that barely describes the translations and deviations evidenced by the films themselves. Fred M. Wilcox’s 1956 film, Forbidden Planet, and Julie Taymor’s 2010 film The Tempest seem like entirely different pieces compared to the standard Shakespearean original. However, that they are both adaptations of the same story proves that the concept of adaptation is both a multilayered and a very much generalized notion. In this particular example of adaptation, the definition being used is: “The action or process of altering, amending, or modifying something, esp. something that has been created for a particular purpose, so that it is suitable for a new use”. These two films do not only modify The Tempest to suit it for the nature of each particular adaptation; they put the non-specific nature of the term “adaptation” into question as each piece translates and deviates further and further from Shakespeare’s original text.

As bizarre as it sounds, Forbidden Planet is perhaps one of the most faithful adaptations of The Tempest. Both works deal with flawed protagonists, the allure of power,...

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