“Hag-Seed”; Literate Talks


“Like a bird on the wire, Like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free”

Quoting the beloved, Leonard Cohen seemed like the most appropriate and smoothest way to begin our talk.  You’ll also find that his presence in this work of fiction is not only used musically but metaphorically as well, I would like to say almost as a foreshadowing or as an irony, -as enigmatic as it sounds, it’s really worth solving by yourself-.

As you from crimes would pardoned be,
Let your indulgence set me free.
He exits. – epilogue, The Tempest

On the 6th of June, I was gifted this book by my dear father, with whom I had celebrated a year ago Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary in a pretentious little theatre, well-hidden in the centre of the city, watching an experimental performance of “the Tempest”.

Memorable, Imperfect and Beautiful! A performance that shaped this world of wonder poetically, beautifully enough that “the Tempest” became the play I most treasured.

Thus, the very existence of a book like “Hag-Seed” was too attractive to resist- Margaret Atwood being the writer made it even more irresistible -. So the expectations were high, not realistic I’m afraid. That being said I still found breathtaking this piece of work, but not the way I expected.

“Hag-Seed” being a part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Project is obviously a retelling, a modern take on a Shakespearean play, this particular being the Bard’s most unique and phenomenal “The Tempest”. If you’re not familiar with his piece a)it won’t be a problem, actually you’ll find yourselves, provided by Atwood herself, the entire analysis as well as the plot at the final pages of your copy b)but if you want my opinion, scratch the previous note and read the prototype, it makes the entire journey way much more  remarkable and worthy.

When it comes to “Hag-Seed” itself, it captures the story of Felix, the artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival, a fellow Bardolater who finds himself driving on a road of betrayal, loss, fantasy and last but definitely not least revenge! His story is a story full of theatre and the very act of acting, both in stage and the real world. Of course, if parallels are to be drawn, here you have a Prospero of a kind!

Having consumed much too many times the play both as a reader and as an audience, it wasn’t difficult to presume Margaret’s intentions and her way of drawing the parallels. Yes, it may sound raw but it was predictable. It didn’t dare in the means of a plot but it did dare in another special way that suits the one of a kind prose of this writer.

Reaching the end was painful, it included many tears and much Cohen playing in the background. Finally, you face the very tragedy of this play, the ultimate catharsis that you anticipate from the very beginning.

Before the final words of this talk are written, let me mention to you a spectacular element of this book. It’s p-r-i-s-o-n-s! Atwood literally uses the key factor of this story and through it, she sends a wonderful message to today’s society.

And one last thing.

Seeing a modern and very real Prospero is unimaginably shocking. I never believed that it would be so effective and it would have such a result but guess what; it did. In the end, it’s our own selves we are seeing portrayed in the figure of this tragic hero!

*note: a Stella Artois would be the perfect company!


Au revoir,
my dearest readers! 🌹

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