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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.58, No.4, 633 ~ 654, 2012
Shakespeare and Traditional Korean Astronomy
한영림 Young Jim Han
This paper discusses the two major Korean Shakespeares, Kim Myung-Gon`s King Uru and Oh Tae-Suk`s Romeo and Juliet, in answer to the request made by Stanley Wells at the 2006 Craiova Shakespeare Festival: theatre practitioners should have ``something worthwhile to say`` before they put something of their own in Shakespeare`s place. Kim and Oh, who have won international acclaim for their adaptations, present ``something worthwhile to say`` by bringing Shakespeare to the world in the light of traditional Korean astronomy. The star map named ``Cheonsang yeolcha bunya jido,`` which was founded in 1395 and designated as the No. 228 National Treasure of Korea in 1985, is employed as a means by which to bring ``something worthwhile to say`` to Shakespeare: it works as a symbol of the cosmic power to restore the divided kingdom and strengthen the kingly power in King Uru; its concept of Hyeonmu, the northern seven lodges of the twenty-eight constellations, is associated with the deaths of not only the lovers but also the whole members of their families in Romeo and Juliet. It is representative of the sunny, light and fiery force of yang in King Uru, whereas of the shady, dark and watery force of yin in Romeo and Juliet. Thus these two productions differ in their approaches, although they make the relevance of traditional Korean astronomy recognizable by redrawing the bounds of Shakespearean tragedy genre: King Uru reminds us of the human capacity for self-recovery, while Romeo and Juliet the human capacity for self-destruction.
Key Words
전통 천문학, 김명곤, 오태석, 우루왕, 로미오와 줄리엣 traditional astronomy, Kim Myung-Gon, Oh Tae-Suk, King Uru, Romeo and Juliet,영미문학, 문화연구, 비교문학, 비평이론, English and American Literature, cultural studies, comparative literature, critical theory
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