Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Faculty Sponsor

Justin Shaw

First Advisor

Justin Shaw

Second Advisor

Spencer Tricker


Bachelor of Arts




Approaching the cultural behemoth that is Shakespeare can be daunting, especially for young audiences; the language is antiquated and can be difficult to understand, and, due in part to the age of these works, the content is often rooted in bigoted ideologies. Young adult (YA) novel adaptations have begun reintroducing readers to Shakespeare, not only significantly enhancing the narratives, but encouraging readers to play with Shakespeare’s language in new, accessible, and exciting ways. By looking at two twenty-first century YA novel adaptations of Shakespeare’s original plays alongside the accompanying source material, I analyze how female protagonists engage with their emotions and are afforded the opportunity to take more agency in their lives. Chapter 1 focuses on Romeo & Juliet and Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights and how the respective Juliet characters embrace their fear and defiance to take action, highlighting how Gong prioritizes Juliette’s emotional agency to elevate her character. Chapter 2 looks at Macbeth and Hannah Capin’s Foul is Fair, delving into how Jade enacts violent revenge by acting on her anger and guilt, turning the figure of Lady Macbeth into a powerful, emotionally driven character who is not only given the spotlight but is able to (re)claim the power Shakespeare strips her of. This analysis highlights the interplay between YA novel adaptations and Shakespeare’s works, emphasizing how they refuse to let women be shunted to the side, giving them new voices and emotional agency to traverse their narratives.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Young Adult, adaptation, These Violent Delights, Chloe Gong, Foul is Fair, Hannah Capin, Affect Theory, Affect, agency, emotions, emotional agency



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