Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Game! Novel Perspective

Here's a game.  Let's pretend that you're reading a novelization of one of Shakespeare's plays.  A literary adaptation, if you will.  I'm in the middle of Undiscovered Country, to provide an example.

When you write in this style you need to choose (and I'm sure I'll get my terminology wrong), a narrative voice.  Will this story be told in first person, third, or other?  The story I'm reading is told from Hamlet's first person perspective and I found myself thinking, "Is he crazy at this point? Would I the read know he's crazy at this point, if he doesn't think he is?"

The closest Shakespeare's got to this is the soliloquoy, where the audience gets some insight into the inner thought processes of a particular character.  But those are few and far between.  I'm talking about a literary angle on the play where the entire story is told from a single character, to the point where if something happens that doesn't include the narrator might as well not have ever happened (except second hand, if the narrator is told about it).

So the game is this.  Pick a play, pick a character, and tell us how the story would be told differently if you saw things through that character's eyes.   It's not even limited to the big questions from the great tragedies.  What would Dream be like told from Bottom's perspective?  Or Shrew from the perspective of the Shrew?


Katie Feldman said...

Like "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead." :)

Falstaff: Sucking up to the prince of wales. Taught him to pick pockets (that was a mistake.) When he's king I should be set for life! :D

Falstaff: There must be some mistake, I thought we were friends. :(

Falstaff: What a jerk. Great, and now I have the flu. >_<

Meg said...

I agree with Katie, above -- it's like R & G Are Dead. I think, to capture as much of the plot as possible, there would be a large section at the end of whatever the plot is to have the single character (providing he/she is still alive!) sum up all of the "wow, I just learned that _______ happened and I get why ______ was so confusing!"

Ophelia said...

Maybe it's just me, but I've always been fascinated by The Tempest as seen by Caliban. Does he like Prospero at all deep down, as some have played him? How nasty is Prospero, really?
And what about Malvolio's Twelfth Night? That would be SO much darker than the original! I just mean, wow-- what a creepy play it would be without all the dizzying love triangle stuff. We've got a protagonist going about his duties and quelling the drunken insanity of a crowd of idiots in order to win the heart of the woman he loves... until she shuns him and he ends up trapped in the dark with Sir Topas shouting at him. He stalks away, fully aware of what has happened but knowing he never will be revenged on anybody.

Okay, now I'm just totally geeking out here. Don't mind me.