Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Shakespeare for Revolution: From Canon to Activism in V for Vendetta and Sons of Anarchy

Maria Consuelo Forés Rossell

Abstract

Shakespeare’s works have long been a place of cultural and political struggles, and continues to be so. Twenty-first century non-canonical fiction is appropriating Shakespeare for activist purposes. The present article will analyze this phenomenon, applying the concept of cultural capital, the theories of cultural materialism, intertextuality, and appropriation in relation to popular culture, in order to study how Shakespeare’s plays are being appropriated from more radically progressive positions, and resituated in alternative contexts. Among the plethora of Shakespearean adaptations of the last decades, non-canonical appropriations in particular offer brand new interpretations of previously assumed ideas about Shakespeare’s works, popularizing the playwright in unprecedented ambits and culturally diverse social spaces, while giving voice to the marginalized. Thus, through entertainment, non-canonical fiction products such as V for Vendetta and Sons of Anarchy recycle the Shakespearean legacy from a critical point of view, while using it as a political weapon for cultural activism, helping to make people aware of social inequalities and to inspire them to adopt a critical stance towards them, as free and equal citizens.

Keywords

cultural activism; appropriation; cultural capital; non-canonical; Shakespeare

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References

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2020.33.07

Copyright (c) 2020 Maria Consuelo Forés Rossell

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