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Shakespeare in Turkish cinema: A cultural transfer from Hamlet to The Angel of Vengeance (1976)

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Shakespeare’s works on the Turkish stage have a long and exciting history, whose roots go back to the reign of Ottoman sultans in the nineteenth century. However, Hamlet, Shakespeare’s most frequently performed and filmed play of all times, was visited late by Turkish cinema. In 1976, Metin Erksan appropriated Hamlet as Intikam Melegi/The Angel of Vengeance, also known as Kadin Hamlet/The Female Hamlet. This article, aligning with Russian semiotician Yuri Lotman’s views about the stages of cultural transfer, reviews the reception of Shakespeare’s plays in Turkish culture, and then discusses Metin Erksan’s The Angel of Vengeance (1976), both as an example of Lotman’s theory of intercultural transfer and an amalgam of Turkish cinematographic conventions like family melodrama and the National Cinema movement.

Keywords: Hamlet; Metin Erksan; Shakespeare; Turkish cinema; Yuri Lotman; cultural transfer; melodrama

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Adaptation, or the conversion of oral, historical or fictional narratives into stage drama has been common practice for centuries. In our own time the processes of cross-generic transformation continue to be extremely important in theatre as well as in the film and other media industries. Adaptation and the related areas of translation and intertextuality continue to have a central place in our culture with a profound resonance across our civilisation.
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