Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2023

Project Advisor(s)

Charles Mahoney; Gregory Semenza; Evelyn Tribble

University Scholar Major



Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Film and Media Studies


Sarah Bradshaw’s thesis argues that Shakespeare's legacy is a fundamentally collaborative product. Rather than viewing Shakespeare’s legacy as the product of a single individual, what "Shakespeare" has come to mean over the past 400 years is altered by those who read, depict, and adapt these texts. Bradshaw presents Shakespeare, Romantic critics, and film adaptors as artists collaborating with their pasts and presents to adapt texts into new environments. By adopting Walter Benjamin’s metaphor of the constellation, Bradshaw theorizes Shakespeare’s legacy as a larger image in which each source, reading, and adaptation operates as a discrete object of study that together create a “Shakespearean constellation.” This project analyzes Shakespeare’s role as an adaptor in the creation of King Lear, Romantic critics who offer influential readings of Hamlet and adapt the play into their own critical settings, and film adaptors who present and depict Hamlet in a new medium with individual and cultural goals in mind. In this way, Bradshaw presents collaboration and adaptation as fundamental elements at work within Shakespeare’s shifting legacy.