Hag-Seed is Atwood’s rewriting of Shakespeare’s, The Tempest. It is the story of Felix, an artistic director for the Makeshiweg Theater Festival. The story starts with Felix’s production of The Tempest. He has lofty plans of putting on the show of the century. In addition, the play was designed in memory of the loss of his daughter, Miranda. Felix is a lonely man who has lost both his daughter and wife. His life work is put to waste, though, when the villain of the story, Tony, finds a way to cancel his play. He retreats to his lonely home in Southern Ontario where he is left waiting for twelve years. In the meantime, Tony replaces Felix as the artistic director of the festival.
He is finally hired by the Burgess Correctional Institution as an instructor for Literacy Through Theater. Felix dives head first into his new position and uses the opportunity to restage his long-lost play. He convinces the inmates that they want to perform his version of The Tempest. In preparation for the play, Felix invites government officials to show off the progress of the inmates. Though, it becomes clear that Felix’s intentions are mostly selfish. To Felix’s dismay, he learns that Tony will be attending in his new role as a politician. Felix takes advantage of the moment and gets his revenge. Rather than show a prerecorded version of the play, Felix has the cast perform it live. As part of the play, the prisoners put on a fake prison riot, which terrifies the politicians who are watching. In the midst of the chaos, Felix catches Tony on camera plotting to murder another politician. Felix uses the footage as blackmail and gains back his job as the artistic director of the festival. The story ends with Felix coming to terms with the loss of his daughter.