Disturbing Dreams and Transcendence in Birdman and The Tempest

  • Eric S. Mallin
Part of the Reproducing Shakespeare book series (RESH)


In Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s 2014 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), the implications of a man who situationally resembles Shakespeare’s Prospero are played out in the St. James Theatre in New York City. A washed-up action film star, 20 years past his prime, mounts a stage production of a short story he has adapted, accompanied by his mental alter-ego, the superhero Birdman. Along with its meditation on the dangers of adaptation itself, the film traces the arc of the hero’s life in extraordinary sympathy with Prospero’s experience in The Tempest: both heroes are on an island, with their daughters, desperately seeking restitution and a form of resurrection before they die.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric S. Mallin
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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