Joan Wolf/Revising Shakespeare



In Joan Wolf's The Counterfeit Marriage, Catherine challenges her husband's reluctance to try to solve the political problems arising from betrayals during the war by obliquely beginning with Hamlet. She describes the plot and all the wrongs Hamlet faces and then asks her husband what Hamlet does about it: Her strategy not only provokes her husband of convenience into re-examining his responses to the situation after the war, but her insight into his dilemma also prompts his long delayed discovery that she know him better than anyone and that he loves her, though he did not realize it. Although the relation to the love plot is indirect in this second example, in both cases Hamlet's inactivity are invoked as obstacles within the hero's character.

Such brief Shakespearean references offer fledgling interpretations or reinterpretations of Shakespeare's plays as part of the communication strategies of romance. In a similar way, Joan Wolf offers a scathing critique of Shakespeare's Richard III as one of the first points of argument between Valentine and Diccon in Fool's Masquerade:

The Earl then picks apart Shakespeare's sources, argues the logic of killing the two princes whil leaving Clarence's son's alive, and points out Henry's actions after Richard died. His devotion to the slandered but historically heroic Richard persists throughout the novel and her agreement with his reinterpretation shows his influence on Valentine.

Incidental Shakespeare, by novel / Reference List by Play / Return to: Rewriting Shakespeare