Shamanistic Shakespeare: Korea’s Colonization of Hamlet

  • Kevin A. Quarmby
Part of the Reproducing Shakespeare book series (RESH)


Quarmby offers a timely reminder about the dangers of imposing a reformulated national myth on international Shakespeare productions. Focusing on a London performance of Korea’s Yohangza Theatre Company’s shamanized Hamlet, the chapter invites far broader consideration of the readability of global Shakespeares and the cultural competence required by Western audiences to appreciate their political, historical, and local complexity. The Korean theatre industry’s colonizing of Hamlet is traced to a Seoul-based nationalist intellectual agenda to reinvent Korea’s mythic identity after a century of cultural oppression. Quarmby demonstrates how this concretizing of shamanic symbolism, packaged for Westernized theatregoing consumption, has created a supposedly authentic Koreanized Shakespeare genre that is confusing to local and global audiences alike.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin A. Quarmby
    • 1
  1. 1.The College of St. ScholasticaDuluthUSA

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