Shakespearean Themes in The Night Circus: Background information when reading The Night Circus

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Night Circus

A Novel

by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2011, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2012, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Shakespearean Themes in The Night Circus

Print Review

The use of magical motifs in Erin Morgenstern's debut novel, The Night Circus, helps make it a unique and fascinating read. William Shakespeare But the literary device is by no means new. Magic can be found in some of the oldest, most revered pieces of literature throughout history, as in William Shakespeare's The Tempest. In fact, his play served as an inspiration for Morgenstern's novel.

In The Night Circus, Prospero the Enchanter maintains a magical persona and attempts to control his daughter's life, much like his namesake in The Tempest, who has the ability to call on spirits and charm his daughter Miranda to sleep.

When confronted with these similarities in an interview with TribLive, Morgenstern admitted that her story shares various themes with both The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet. She explains, "Some of the Shakespearean aspects actually came up late in the development of the story... I had all the characters there, and the plot wasn't structured the same way it is now. Once I started moving things around, I looked at it and thought, if I do this, it's going to be Romeo and Juliet."

But with much work, and despite her initial concerns, Morgenstern's book has come to be widely praised for its depth and originality. It seems to have sparked a magic all its own.

For further reading on magical realism, visit BookBrowse's featured "Beyond the Book".

This article was originally published in September 2011, and has been updated for the July 2012 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Rules of Magic
    The Rules of Magic
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's Rules of Magic is the long-awaited prequel to one of her most cherished novels,...
  • Book Jacket: Good Me Bad Me
    Good Me Bad Me
    by Ali Land
    Is a psychopath born or made? This is the terrifying question that author Ali Land explores in her ...
  • Book Jacket: Five-Carat Soul
    Five-Carat Soul
    by James McBride
    In the short story "Sonny's Blues," from the 1965 collection Going to Meet the Man, African-...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

"A powerful, provocative debut ... Intelligent, honest, and unsentimental." - Kirkus, starred review

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Never Coming Back
    by Alison McGhee

    A moving exploration of growing up and growing old, and the ties that bind parents and children.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Wisdom of Sundays

The Wisdom of Sundays
by Oprah Winfrey

Life-changing insights from super soul conversations.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A Good M I H T F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.