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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  • Genre: Fiction; contemporary retelling
  • Originally Published: 2016
  • Reading Level/Interest: Grades 9-12; college/adult
  • Structure/Length: 47 chapters with Prologue and Epilogue; approx. 320 pages; approx. 8 hours, 11 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: In this modern retelling and reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a theatrical director named Felix lives an isolated existence after losing his job and family; he nurses bitterness toward his replacement at his former theater, a man named Tony. Eventually Felix finds work teaching and directing at a local correctional institute, where he coaches the inmates to perform works of Shakespeare. When Felix discovers that Tony will be visiting the prison, he concocts a plan for vengeance to be played out during a performance of The Tempest.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Loss of family members; use of drugs; threats of violence

Margaret Atwood, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1939; a native of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; graduate of Victoria College and Harvard University; recipient of the Franz Kafka International Literary Award, the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award, and The Booker Prize, among other awards   
  • Other Works: “Siren Song” (1974); The Handmaid’s Tale (1985); The Blind Assassin (2002); “Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet” (2009)
  • Awards: Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction (longlisted; 2017)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit: