Hamlet's Road from Damascus

Potent Fathers, Slain Ghosts, and Rejuvenated Sons


  • Yousef Awad The University of Jordan
  • Barkuzar Dubbati The University of Jordan


This paper examines the intertextual relationship between Hamlet and Yassin-Kassab's The Road from Damascus (2008). It argues that the appropriation of Hamlet's intellectual and psychological inner conflicts in the novel highlights the complexities of ideological decisions Muslims in Britain face in post-9/11 times. Sami, the novel's protagonist, goes on a quest for salvation and truth that echoes in many ways Hamlet's anguished and prolonged search for evidence of his father's murder story, as narrated by the father's ghost. Just as Hamlet's revenge mission turns into a series of meditations on the human existence, death, and the futility of vengeance, Sami's negotiation with his late father's unwavering demands for secularism and repudiation of Islam complicates the shaping of the Muslim diasporic identity. A number of quotations from Hamlet that come at crucial moments in the novel, as well as Sami's Hamlet-like hallucinatory state, help steer him toward crucial self-realizations.

Author Biographies

Yousef Awad, The University of Jordan

Yousef Awad is an Associate Professor at the University of Jordan. He published a monograph on Arab writers in diaspora titled The Arab Atlantic. He also published a number of articles that explore a range of themes like cultural translation, identity and multiculturalism in the works of Arab writers in diaspora. Currently, Dr. Awad is working on a project that examines the adaptation and appropriation of Shakespeare by Arab writers in diaspora.

Barkuzar Dubbati, The University of Jordan

Barkuzar Dubbati received her Ph.D. from George Washington University in Washington DC. Her areas of research are literary theory, popular fiction, cultural studies, and postcolonial literature. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Jordan.