‘Shakespeare Had the Passion of an Arab’

The Appropriation of Shakespeare in Fadia Faqir’s Willow Trees Don’t Weep

in Critical Survey
Hussein A. AlhawamdehUniversity of Jordan h.hawamdeh@ju.edu.jo

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This article analyses the Shakespearean appropriation in Fadia Faqir’s Willow Trees Don’t Weep (2014) to show how Faqir’s novel establishes a new Arab Jordanian feminist trope of the willow tree, metaphorically embodied in the female character of Najwa, who does not surrender to the atrocities of the masculine discourse. Faqir’s novel, appropriating a direct text from Shakespeare’s Cymbeline and an allusion to Shakespeare’s Othello, does not praise the Bard but dismantles the Shakespearean dramatization of the submissive woman. In this article, I claim that Faqir’s Willow Trees warns against mimicking the Bard’s feminine models and offers a liberating space or a local ‘alternative wisdom and beauty’, in Ania Loomba’s expression, and a ‘challenge’, in Graham Holderness’s terminology, to Shakespeare. In Faqir’s novel, Shakespeare has been ‘Arabized’, in Ferial Ghazoul’s words, to revise and redefine new roles of the Arab Jordanian woman.

Contributor Notes

Hussein A. Alhawamdeh is an assistant professor of English literature at the University of Jordan. He earned his PhD in English literature from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2011. His research interests revolve around Shakespearean appropriation and adaptation in Arabic literature, feminism, Renaissance and Restoration drama, and Orientalism.

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