A Review of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: The Emipire Striketh Back
By Jessica Brister On 19 Jul, 2016 At 06:10 PM | Categorized As Reviews | With 0 Comments

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As a geek, I love Star Wars.  As a former English teacher, I love Shakespeare.  When you combine the two, I am in heaven.  That is exactly what has happened with the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series.  Someone has gone through and re-written the classic Star Wars movies into Shakespearean plays.  I received Episodes IV through VI as a set and think they are an absolute blast to read.  I have already done a review for A New Hope and will be concentrating only on The Empire Striketh Back for the purposes of this review.
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William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: The Empire Striketh Back was written by Ian Doescher and was published in 2014 by Quirk Books.  At this time, the first six Star Wars movies have been published in this series so that nerds like me can collect them all.  I found out that the author decided to write these books because George Lucas purposely put archetypal characters in Star Wars, and Shakespeare is the master of archetypes.  This was definitely an interesting and creative idea of rewriting different Star Wars movies into the form of a Shakespeare play.

The Empire Striketh Back is essentially Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back in iambic pentameter with stage direction, like it is a true Shakespearean play.  The plot has stayed the same, but the dialogue has been greatly changed.  It was extremely fun to read, though it will probably not be for everyone.  It definitely fits a niche group of readers.  I’m assuming that if you are interested in this book, you are already familiar with the story and will focus more on some of the key differences.

Though most of the book was as expected: The Empire Strikes Back turned into Shakespeare, there was one interesting twist that I want to discuss and that is the diction and style of Yoda, which was quite interesting.  Yoda speaks with the characteristic and very memorable dialect, which is inverted.  There are also many, many Shakespeare lines which are inverted as well because that was the dialect at the time.  So what was the author to do? Invert the dialogue again so that Yoda spoke normally?  Keep Yoda doing the same thing?  Just quote the lines of Yoda from the movie and be done with it (He sounds Shakespearean enough, doesn’t he?)

Well, the author chose a completely different way, which I admire, since this was a difficult issue…because you know how Star Wars fans are and all…When I say that, I mean crazy and all.  Because they totally are.  Instead of what you might expect, Yoda spoke in haiku.  It was beautiful and all.  It was unique.  I thought it was great given the difficulty of mastering a character who has already existed in cannon for a long time in a language that is archaic.  For those who have an issue…do you have your own deal for Star Wars in Shakespearean language?  No?  Okay then.

There were also some issues with Boba Fett, but then again, when aren’t there issues with Boba Fett?  Seriously, if you have been following the Star Wars universe as much as I have over the last couple of decades, Boba Fett has been a  crazy topic to try and mess with, which is why I won’t.  Have fun and all.  In the meantime, I thought that his character was done as best as could be done.

The book was a great rendition of Star Wars plus Shakespeare.  This book is not for everyone, but for the small sub-set of people who love geeky things and classic literature.

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