87 pages 2 hours read

Margaret Atwood

Hag-Seed: William Shakespeare's The Tempest Retold

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2016

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Important Quotes

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“As for the height of his powers, the height is always ominous. From the height, there’s nowhere to go but down.”

(Part 1, Chapter 2, Page 12)

This quote foreshadows Felix’s downfall. Well-versed in the tragic nature of Shakespeare’s heroes and antagonists, Felix is aware that he embodies the type of Shakespearean character who will inevitably fall from their heights of power or influence. This quote refers to Felix’s firing from his role as artistic director, but it also foreshadows his fall from the height of his influence in future endeavors. This emphasizes that Felix constantly pushes his power too far.

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“What to do with such a sorrow? It was like an enormous black cloud boiling up over the horizon. No: it was like a blizzard. No: it was like nothing he could put into language. He couldn’t face it head-on. He had to transform it, or at the very least enclose it.”

(Part 1, Chapter 2, Page 15)

This quote is notable for the imagery it pulls from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The title of the play refers to a storm, mirrored here in the image of a black cloud on the horizon that metaphorically connotes an inner storm. It is also notable that Felix finds he can’t understand his tempest with language, which is his specialty. This quote is foreboding and foreshadows Felix’s descent into the madness of his own tragedy.

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“It didn’t take Felix long to discover that it was easy to disappear, and that his disappearance was borne lightly by the world at large. The hole his sudden absence left in the fabric of the Makeshiweg Festival was filled soon enough—filled, indeed, by Tony. The show rolled on, as shows do.”

(Part 1, Chapter 6, Page 36)

Despite Felix’s ego and faith in his long-standing reputation as artistic director, the theater world moves on quickly without him. Far from being missed or celebrated, Felix disappears from the circles he once led. This quote emphasizes Felix’s delusions of grandeur. As good as Felix believed he was at his job,